Thursday, March 2, 2017

Two Views of the Past

Today a teacher asked for pairs of books that deal with historical events. She wanted texts that presented the same basic event. Students will be looking at the ways authors can present a story or information. Here are pairs with distinctive differences (summaries via Goodreads):

Brick by Brick:  
The president of a new country
needs a new home,
so many hands work
together as one.

Black hands,
white hands,
free hands,
slave hands.

In this powerful story of the building of the White House, Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith Jr. and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our president. The White House was created by many hands, several of the slaves', who will be remembered throughout history for their extraordinary feat. Many slaves were able to purchase their freedom after earning money from learning a trade through this work, which speaks to their unbelievable strength. The title reflects how this towering symbol of America was created by hand, human hands, working toward their freedom, brick by brick.

The House That George Built:
THE HOUSE THAT GEORGE BUILT takes readers through the process of how the president’s house came to be—starting with the contest George held to choose the perfect design for this legendary landmark, all the way to President John Adams’s move into the grandiose home. Cleverly written in the familiar format of "The House That Jack Built," author Suzanne Slade supplements her rhyming verse with lively conversational prose, describing how George was involved in this project from beginning to end, from selecting the location to figuring out how to get the thousands of heavy bricks to the construction site. Rebecca Bond’s watercolor illustrations help readers follow the steps to what became the White House as we know it today.
Obviously the two books come at the building of the White House from two very different perspectives. After I collected several pairs, I wondered how I would remember the titles if they were needed again in the future and decided to type it up for the blog so I can find them again and share with others too. Here are the other pairs.

Juneteenth for Maisie by Floyd Cooper
Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history — the day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth.

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms.

Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds illustrated by Floyed Cooper:
It seems like any other winter day in Montgomery, Alabama. Mama and child are riding where they're supposed to, way in the back of the bus. The boy passes the time by watching his marble roll up and down the aisle with the motion of the bus, until from way up front a big commotion breaks out. He can't see what's going on, but he can see the policeman arrive outside and he can see Mama's chin grow strong. "There you go, Rosa Parks," she says, "stirrin' up a nest of hornets. Tomorrow all this'll be forgot." But they both know differently

Boycott Blues by Andrea Davis Pinkney illustrated by Brian Pinkney:
This story begins with shoes.
This story is all for true.
This story walks. And walks. And walks.
To the blues.
Rosa Parks took a stand by keeping her seat on the bus. When she was arrested for it, her supporters protested by refusing to ride. Soon a community of thousands was coming together to help one another get where they needed to go. Some started taxis, some rode bikes, but they all walked and walked.

With dogged feet. With dog-tired feet. With boycott feet. With boycott blues.

And, after 382 days of walking, they walked Jim Crow right out of town. . . .

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney present a poignant, blues-infused tribute to the men and women of the Montgomery bus boycott, who refused to give up until they got justice.

Way Up and Over Everything by Alice McGill illustrated by Jude Daly:
My great-grandmama’s mama told her and she told me this story about a long time ago . . .

So begins this account of the author’s great-great-grandmother Jane, and how she meets a slave new to the plantation, a slave who would prove to have magical powers . . . created by the wish for freedom. Alice McGill remembers this story, passed down in her family through the generations, from her childhood and how her greatgrandmother told it to her “as if unveiling a great, wonderful secret. My siblings and I believed that certain Africans shared this gift of taking to the air—‘way up and over everything.’”

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon:
“THE PEOPLE COULD FLY,” the title story in Virginia Hamilton’s prize-winning American Black folktale collection, is a fantasy tale of the slaves who possessed the ancient magic words that enabled them to literally fly away to freedom. And it is a moving tale of those who did not have the opportunity to “fly” away, who remained slaves with only their imaginations to set them free as they told and retold this tale.

Leo and Diane Dillon have created powerful new illustrations in full color for every page of this picture book presentation of Virginia Hamilton’s most beloved tale. The author’s original historical note as well as her previously unpublished notes are included.

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving might work with any number of picture books that have a more mythical type of storyline.

If you know of other pairings that would work for such an activity, please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. This is fabulous. What a powerful way to teach history and demonstrate that there are multiple ways to tell any story.