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A Sweet Smell of Roses

Angela Johnson

Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Picture Book

Ages 5 to 7

Simon and Schuster, 2005, 1-4169-5361-2

  Minnie and her big sister sneak out of their house in the morning and make their way to “where everybody waits to march.” Holding hands the girls listen as Dr. King speaks over the megaphone, as he tells them what they are marching for on this morning with its rose scented air, and its blooming flowers.

  Then they join all the other people and begin to march with Dr. King. The girls can smell the roses as they hear angry people shout at them from the side of the road. They keep on walking with their heads held high, proud to be a part of this march “toward freedom.”

  Together with all the other people they stand in the center of town and listen to Dr. King speak. They hear his words about “love,/nonviolence,/and change for everybody.
And when it is over they skip back home singing freedom songs, the scent of roses in the air around them.

  In this beautifully illustrated picture book with its lyrical text and powerful images, the author remembers the courage and support of the children who played a part in the civil rights movement of 1950’s and 1960’s America. Often when we think of the movement we think of the grown-up heroes whose names appear in history books. This tale remembers the children who participated in that fight for freedom, and it reminds us that children were a part of, and were greatly affected by, the events which took place in those turbulent years.


A Sweet Smell of Roses


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