The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
Who do you picture when you think of famous, important, or successful people? Are there people of all races and ethnicities in those groups?
Honesty- Once, most ballerinas were white. Is that still true? Why might that be so?
Empathy- Do you have a dream that you needed encouragement to pursue? If not, ask your parents or other adults if they have. Find out more about those dreams.
Advocacy- Copeland’s letter to readers ends with, “I want to bring many with me to trace and create an even more vivid road to acceptance of yourself and from others.” Is she being an advocate? If so, how?
Action- Think of ways you can support others’ dreams. Put those ideas into action.
The absence of a parent whether from divorce, death or other circumstances is traumatic for any child. How does the boy in this story move on from the temporary loss of his father?
Book reviewed by Kathleen Barill, Director of Heterick Memorial Library, ONU
Can you imagine influencing the world through something that you love? DJ Kool Herc was living in an area of America that many people believe is very violent when he began to influence the world through his art form. Why is this significant?
Honesty- Kool Herc could have easily given up on his desire to become a DJ. Why do you think he persisted?
Empathy- How do you feel when it seems to take so long for someone you want to happen?
Advocacy- Read the Author’s Note at the end of the story to find out more about the Bronx, where Kool Herc lived during most of this story. What else can you find out about the Bronx, both positive and negative?
Action- In the Author’s Note, he talks about a youth culture and the positive impact of breakdancing. How can you help people better understand the youth culture, and dance forms such as hip hop and breakdancing if they’re not already aware?
Note all of the places the American flag or portions of it shows up in this book. What do you think the illustrator is saying through the use of the flag in his illustrations? After reading the story, read the Illustrator’s Note at the end of the book. Reread the book with the understanding of why Brian Collier made his illustration decisions.
Have you and your family, friends or community ever banded together when you wanted to change something? Look up labor unions and discuss whether or not you think labor unions are a good idea. (You can relate labor unions to page 56 in this book.)
This book has so many examples of injustice that occurred over the life of the U.S. as well as heroes- the slave trade and lives of slaves, (15-37), lack of and differentiated education (24, 43, 48, 85), the Civil War (26-37), life during Reconstruction (39-45), Jim Crow (45, 53,56, 85) life on the frontier (46-51), the Great Migration (53-), the black women’s vote (69), W.W. II (70-77), Martin Luther King, Jr. (80-99), Little Rock Nine (86), Rosa Parks and boycotting, (89), and the Freedom Riders (91).
Do you think Dave the Potter was ever free? In what way(s)?
This story portrays the amazing life of an African American man. It also shows some examples of prejudice and discrimination. Who is biased and who has been discriminated against?
The section at the back of the book “Further Reading and Websites” provides information to continue with lessons about bias and discrimination.
Before reading this book, look at all of the pictures with your classmates, and describe what you see. How did you describe the people in the photographs?
Why do you think the girls' mothers didn't want them to cross the fence? People of color were not always treated equally in U.S. history. Why does the fence separate the two parts of town? How are people of color treated today?
Honesty- Should skin color matter in a friendship? Why or why not? How did Clover's friends treat Annie?
Empathy- How would you feel if you were restricted to one area and couldn't cross a fence even though you wanted to? Do you think the mothers were being too protective or could there have been some dangers for Clover and Annie?
Advocacy- Are there places within your community that are more integrated than others while others remain largely segregated? Some places you can look include community parks, or theatres, or organizations such as a community orchestra or certain churches. Research how the places that are integrated became that way.
Action- Look for ways to become part of more integrated groups.