Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

White Socks Only

White Socks Only

Evelyn Coleman
Illustrator:  Tyrone Geter 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Albert Whitman & Company, 1996   ISBN: 978-0807589564

One hot summer day a little girl goes to town all on her own, something she has never done before. She gets dressed up, puts two eggs in her pocket, and walks down the dusty road, eager to prove something to herself.

   When she gets to town she sees lots of people she does not know, has to hide from one of her mother’s friends, and then finally she is able to do what she came to town to do. The girl wants to know if an egg really will fry on the cement sidewalk. She finds out that the egg, “sho  nuff,’ will fry on a hot Mississippi sidewalk. The little girl is now ready to go home, but then she starts to feel thirsty. She sees a water fountain with a sign on it that says “Whites Only.” The little girl is sure that she knows that this sign means. She takes off her black shoes and steps up to the fountain in her white socks. It never occurs to her that the sign could mean something else, something touched with hate and meanness.

   The story in this memorable book shows to get effect how one little girl’s misunderstanding undermined years of bigotry in a southern town in the United States. The story is bittersweet, but it ends with a message that is full of hope.