It’s Black History Month and I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite books by and about African American/ Black authors.
At the ripe old age of four The Bee declared that it was hard being a Black woman. After further conversation I learned that her preschool class had learned about slavery and Civil Rights and from the class discussion she felt so overwhelmed with the history of Black America that she wanted to remove herself from it. That night and several nights (weeks, months) after, we talked about what it means to be a Black person in America, why learning the history was important, why history was important to her today and how our history was not supposed to make her feel like a victim.
So when I read Becky Birtha’s Grandmama’s Pride I found a book that really resonated and offered a dignified solution for dealing with that feeling of being a victim.
The Publisher’s description of the book:
While on a trip in 1956 to visit her grandmother in the South, six-year-old Sarah Marie experiences segregation for the first time, but discovers that things have changed by the time she returns the following year. Every summer, Mama, Sister, and Sarah Marie take the bus down south to visit Grandmama. The three of them sit in the back of the bus, because, as Mama says, it is the best seat. At the bus station, Grandmama is waiting in the stand-up waiting room, though there is another room where people can sit down. Later, on a walk into town, the girls don’t drink from the water fountain because Grandmama says she’ll make fresh lemon-mint iced tea when they get home. Throughout the summer, Aunt Maria teaches Sarah Marie how to read. Then Sarah Marie notices signs in town she hadn’t been able to read before, like the one on a bathroom door that says “White Women” and another that says “Colored Women.” Sarah Marie faces a hard realization about the segregated South. But in the fall she reads about events happening in places like Clinton, Tennessee, and Montgomery, Alabama. And by the next summer, when they go back to visit Grandmama, they all sit in the front of the bus.
During Black History Month children can be overwhelmed with the history. This book provides a balance to help children understand that there are alternatives for dealing with racism and discrimination. This book reads very well aloud, the illustrations by Colin Bootman are wonderful and this is a great addition to any collection.Reading Becky Birtha’s Grandmama’s Pride was quite cathartic for me. Growing up I was always aware of race and there were times that I would feel that my skin was indeed a burden. During a visit to my library Becky presented the story in such a way that I felt that I would be able to stand taller, hold my head higher and was pleased to share the book with my daughter.
Copies of this book are available through Becky’s website or at your local library.
Proudly owning my history,