Remember: The Journey to School Integration
Remember: The Journey to School Integration
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Annotation: Text and photographs introduce the history of school desegregation in the United States.
Genre: Education
Catalog Number: #4355183
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition Date: 2004
Pages: 78 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-618-39740-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-618-39740-2
Dewey: 379.2
LCCN: 2003022884
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
The photos are electrifying. Beautifully reproduced in sepia prints, the archival images humanize the politics of the civil rights movement. The leaders are shown, but the focus is on ordinary young people and the role they played in school integration. In her eloquent introduction, Morrison talks about what the pictures show: the reality of separate but equal, the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, the nationwide movement to eliminate racist laws. On the page opposite each photo, however, she imagines the thoughts and feelings of kids in the photos, and the intrusive fictionalized comments get in the way of the visual images (I think she likes me, but . . .What will I do if she hates me?). The fiction is not about the angry white mobs; there's no verbal racist confrontation. But there's hatred in the pictures, and children will constantly turn back to the photo notes at the end to find out more. Every library will want this not for the condescending made-up stuff but for the stirring history.
Horn Book
Thompson describes what Mouse finds when he rides to school in a backpack: "Squiggle, scribble, dot crayons! / Ssip, slurp, crunch snacks!" and children, of course--"Wiggly, giggly, best of all friends!" Illustrations in glowing colors provide appealing close-ups of Mouse and his discoveries; the toe of a sneaker, for example, takes up most of one page.
Kirkus Reviews
Morrison attempts to tell the story of Southern school integration through archival photographs oddly juxtaposed with a confusing narrative. Introductory words explain that Morrison has "imagined the thoughts and feelings of some of the people in the photographs chosen to help tell this story." Unfortunately, it's often difficult to tell who is doing the talking. On one page is a picture of black and white schoolchildren joyfully running out of school together; on the opposite page are white teenagers tipping a car. The text for both pages reads, "Great! Now we can have some fun!" Endnotes place each photo in historic context, but at least one note is inaccurate. Gov. George Wallace closed Huntsville schools, but the note states "integration in Huntsville schools took place without incident." Staying closer to the theme of school integration would have helped keep focus, especially in the later section, essentially a presentation of every civil-rights icon from Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King. While it's nice to see familiar photographs collected in one place, the overall feeling of the narrative is confusion. Younger children will need adults to help with interpretation. (timeline, photo notes) (Nonfiction. 8-14)
Publishers Weekly

Assembling more than 50 photographs depicting segregation, school scenes and events prior to and following the 1954 Supreme Court ruling on Brown v. Board of Education, Morrison (Who's Got Game?) writes that "because remembering is the mind's first step toward understanding," her book is designed to take readers "on a journey through a time in American life when there was as much hate as there was love." She adds, she has "imagined the thoughts and feelings of some of the people in the photographs to help tell this story." The photographs have a uniformly high impact. Some will be familiar: first-grader Ruby Bridges escorted by U.S. marshals from a newly integrated school; white adults' faces contorted with rage as they heckle black students. Against this disturbing backdrop, perhaps the most striking images are the rare moments of unguarded affection, as when a black girl and a white girl smile candidly at each other in a high school cafeteria. However, it's odd to see words invented for Ruby Bridges, who has told her own story elsewhere, and for other public figures; and not all the imagined words ring true (e.g., beneath a photo of three white teens wearing signs protesting the integration of their high school: "My buddies talked me into this.... These guys are my friends and friends are more important than strangers. Even if they're wrong. Aren't they?"). Odd, too, is the decision to put events that lead up to integration (the bus boycott, lunch counter protests) out of sequential order. In the end, the pairing of the fictional text with the historical photographs poses a problem: how much is the audience asked to "remember" and how much to "imagine"? All ages. (May)

School Library Journal
Gr 3-8 This unusual blend of archival photographs, historical background, and fictional narrative brings to life the experiences and emotions of the African-American students who made the tumultuous journey to school integration. Dramatic, mostly full-page, black-and-white photographs make up the bulk of the book. An introduction sets the scene, and factual pages, consisting of several sentences, are scattered throughout. They explain the significance of the events, the trauma of racial conflict, the courage and determination of African Americans and their supporters, and the importance of remembering and understanding. With poignant simplicity and insight, Morrison imagines the thoughts and feelings of some of the people in the pictures. The wrenching, inspiring autobiographical school integration memoirs of first-grader Ruby Bridges ( Through My Eyes [Scholastic, 1999]) and Little Rock Nine high school junior Melba Pettillo Beals ( Warriors Don't Cry [Washington Square, 1995]) offer greater immediacy and convey a powerful message for future generations about the need for understanding, self-awareness, and self-respect. However, Morrison's reflective interpretation presents a gentler guide for younger readers. Appended are a chronology of "Key Events in Civil Rights and School Integration History"; "Photo Notes" that describe the actual date, location, and content of each picture; and a dedication that recalls the four young girls killed in the bombing of their Birmingham, AL, church in 1963. The provocative, candid images and conversational text should spark questions and discussion, a respect for past sacrifices, and inspiration for facing future challenges. Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Word Count: 2,116
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 78080 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.7 / points:4.0 / quiz:Q37510
Lexile: 660L

Toni Morrison has collected a treasure chest of archival photographs that depict the historical events surrounding school desegregation. These unforgettable images serve as the inspiration for Ms. Morrison's text--a fictional account of the dialogue and emotions of the children who lived during the era of "separate but equal" schooling. Remember is a unique pictorial and narrative journey that introduces children to a watershed period in American history and its relevance to us today.


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