In light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we read the following books on slavery or discrimination.
James Starman, a 9 year old boy, was set free along with his Mama, Papa and 5 year old sister Lettie. This story is told through his eyes. Together, James and his family travel to Indiana where they use their skills to build a home. Papa returns to Tennessee many times to bring other loved ones to join them. They eventually build an entire community including a church, store, blacksmith shop, and grain mill. They decide their community of former slaves needs a name, they choose Freedom – a name most fitting.
This story is about a boy named Tommy who is regularly getting into trouble. He gets sent home from church for disruptive behavior (fishing for geese out the church window). Instead of going straight home and to his room, as he was told to do, he heads to the barn and discovers a family of slaves. With time being of the utmost importance, Thomas finds himself not only learning about slavery and the underground railroad but assisting his father in helping a family reach freedom.
This is a sweet book about a girl named Grace. She is very creative and dramatic and loves to reenact stories she’s read or heard. When she desires to be Peter Pan in the school play she is told that she can’t be Peter Pan because she is a girl, and then by another that she can’t because she is black. Ma and Nana teach her in a wonderful way, that she can do anything she puts her mind to.
This is a great book for a discussion on racial issues. The book begins in a school classroom in 1962 with the discussion of the Revolutionary War and soldiers. The teacher of this 4th grade class remarks “People fight hard for ideals like freedom … Sometimes heroes die for the things they believe in.” This remark is further built upon at church with a discussion of martyrs and the question “Do any of you love something so much, you would die for it?” In this book you meet a lovable grandmother, who ends up the recipient of racial discrimination and violence. Readers are introduced to the “N” word and hatred and senselessness of racism.
My children are not/were not aware of racism. They take everyone at face value and have never considered differences like skin color, origin, or the like to add to or subtract from someone’s value as a child of God. I found the above listed books to prompt some great discussions and awareness.