Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Grandmama's Pride (Golden Kite Honors)

Grandmama's Pride (Golden Kite Honors)

Becky Birtha
Illustrator:  Colin Bootman 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Albert Whitman & Company, 2005   ISBN: 978-0807530283

It is summertime, and Sarah Marie, her little sister, and Mama are going to travel down south to stay with Grandmama. Sarah Marie is looking forward to the visit, and she is especially looking forward to the reading lessons that her Aunt Maria is going to give her.

On the bus, the sisters and their mother sit at the back of the bus, and instead of eating at the lunch counter in Maryland, they eat sandwiches and other food brought from home. When they get to Grandmama’s town, they find Grandmama and Aunt Maria waiting for them in the waiting room that doesn’t have any benches to sit on. Sarah Marie and her sister don’t realize that the front of the bus, the lunch counter, and the waiting room with the benches are for white people only.

Soon after arriving at Grandmama’s house, the sisters and Grandmama walk to town to buy fabric so that they can make two new summer dresses for the girls. They walk the whole way, and even though they are thirsty they don’t get a drink from the fountain in front of the post office. Sarah Marie and her sister don’t know that the fountain is for people who are “White Only,” and that Grandmama won’t ride the bus because it is segregated. “Grandmama’s pride is too tall to fit” in the colored section at the back of the bus.

Then Aunt Maria starts to teach Sarah Marie how to read, and for the first time Sarah Marie is able to read all the “White Only” signs. For the first time, Sarah understands what it means to be a colored person in the south, and she does not like it one little bit.

In this powerful and beautifully written picture book, we can see how segregation made one little girl feel, and we can witness, through her eyes, what it was like to see segregation come to an end.

Based on the real events that took place in the south during the 1950’s and 1960’s, this is a book that serves as a tribute to all those who rode the buses, sat at the lunch counters, and who refused to give in to violence and intimidation.

An author’s note at the back of the book provides readers will further information about the civil rights movement.