I didn’t write a post about Martin Luther King Day this week, so I thought I would share my favorite picture book on the subject of slavery and racism in the U.S. I had the extreme good fortune of hearing the author read this story out loud at a conference, where I was moved to tears. This is also a Newbery Honor book.
Written by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by Hudson Talbott
Putnam Juvenile, September, 2005
Suitable for: Ages 4-8
Themes/Topics: Slavery, Civil Rights, Martin Luther King, Jr., Race Relations, Families, Mothers and Daughters, History
Opening and brief synopsis: Opening: “Soonie’s great-grandma was only seven when she was sold away from her parents in Virginia and sent to South Carolina. All she had was a piece of muslin from her mother, two needles, and bright red thread. She was raised by Big Mama, who cared for the plantation children and at night whispered stories of freedom. Big Mama taught great-grandma how to sew messages and directions into quilt patterns, a Show Way.”
The book follows the journey of eight generations of Woodson’s own female ancestors, ending with her own daughter. Make sure you have tissues nearby when you read it.
Activities: Lesson Planet has several lesson plans based on Show Way and others of Woodson’s books. Woodson herself does not have any on her site, saying, “I write because I have questions, not because I have answers…” Have to say I love that!
Why I Like This Book: I wrote a entire blog post about what this book means to me here.Authors, Children's Books, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books · Tags: Children's Books, Jacqueline Woodson, Julie Hedlund, Newbery Honor, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, Racism, Show Way, Slavery, Writer