Riding to Washington
Riding to Washington
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Annotation: A young white girl rides the bus with her father to the March on Washington in 1963--at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would give his "I Have a Dream" speech. She comes to see that Dr. King's dream belongs not just to Blacks but to all Americans.
Genre: Government
Catalog Number: #25524
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: c2008
Illustrator: Geister, David,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-585-36324-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-18600-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-585-36324-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-18600-2
Dewey: 323.1196
LCCN: 2007046042
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Traveling by bus with her dad to Washington, D.C., in August 1963, a young girl from an all-white neighborhood isn't sure what awaits her. But on the journey, she encounters discrimination when restaurants refuse to serve mixed crowds, and she's made aware of a No Coloreds sign at a gas-station restroom, which she helps a passenger challenge. Then, as part of the huge gathering in Washington, she hears a speech by Dr. King, and she understands that the dream he speaks of belongs to everyone. Geister's unframed, period paintings give a strong sense of the times, from the large picture of the bus on the road to the close-up portraits of the girl and the African American friend she makes during their travels. The child's viewpoint personalizes those archival images of the great March on Washington in this entry in the Tales of Young Americans series.
School Library Journal
Gr 14 Swain bases this story on her father's remembrances of attending the August 1963 March on Washington, DC. Fed up with Janie's impulsive behavior, Mama sends the girl on a bus trip with her father to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., speak at the Lincoln Memorial. Not many "black folks" live in Janie's part of Indianapolis, but she's seen TV news reports of "coloreds" being sprayed with fire hoses and chased by police dogs in the South. While boarding the bus, she meets the wife of one of her father's employees. Mrs. Taylor is an elegant black woman who wears a matching suit and "hat like Mrs. Kennedy." During the journey, the driver can't locate a restaurant that will serve a "mixed crowd." When they stop at a gas station, Mrs. Taylor decides to ignore the "No Coloreds" sign over the restroom door. Inspired by her determination, Janie accompanies the woman and helps teach the young attendant a quiet lesson in compassion. Listening to Dr. King speak, Janie realizes that his dream is important for everyone, not just African Americans. The text effectively describes Janie's experiences, and readers can easily imagine how they would respond in similar situations. The illustrations provide a strong sense of the period. The soft earth tones and rounded forms create a mood of safety and stability. This heartfelt tale provides an unusual and compelling perspective on a historical event. Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (3/1/08)
Horn Book
School Library Journal (6/1/08)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 1,483
Reading Level: 3.8
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.8 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 120598 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.7 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q44527
Lexile: AD650L

Janie is not exactly sure why her daddy is riding a bus from Indianapolis to Washington, D.C. She knows why she has to go-to stay out of her mother's way, especially with the twins now teething. But Daddy wants to hear a man named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak and, to keep out of trouble, Janie is sent along. Riding the bus with them is a mishmash of people, black and white, young and old. They seem very different from Janie. As the bus travels across cities and farm fields to its historic destination, Janie sees firsthand the injustices that many others are made to endure. She begins to realize that she's not so different from the other riders and that, as young as she is, her actions can affect change.Though fiction, Riding to Washington is a very personal story for Gwenyth Swain as both her father and grandfather rode to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 1963 civil rights march on the nation's capital. Ms. Swain's other books include Chig and the Second Spread and I Wonder As I Wander. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Artist David Geister has entertained audiences for years with his costumed portrayals of historic characters from the nineteenth century, and his artwork reflects his interest in history and dramatic storytelling. Riding to Washington is his third title with Sleeping Bear Press. David lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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