I Have Heard of a Land

  • Title: I Have Heard of a Land
  • Author: Joyce Carol Thomas
  • Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
  • Publisher: Joanna Cotler Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication year: 1998
  • Brief Summary: From HarperCollins-“In the late 1880s, signs went up all around America – land was free in the Oklahoma territory. And it was free to everyone: Whites, Blacks, men and women alike. All one needed to stake a claim was hope and courage, strength and perseverance. Thousands of pioneers, many of them African-Americans newly freed from slavery, headed west to carve out a new life in the Oklahoma soil.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –This book is great to bring up and use when a class is in the midst of a social studies lesson on the migration of African Americans out of the South post-Civil War, and on the Oklahoma land runs of the late 1880s.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –The vivid, detialed illustrations pair well with Thomas’s lyrical text. Probably my favorite illustrations is of the pioneer woman’s family huddled in their dwelling while she trudges back toward them in the cold snow, her hands clutched around her frail shawl but a smile on her face.

Lillian’s Right to Vote

  • Title: Lillian’s Right to Vote
  • Author: Jonah Winter
  • Illustrator: Shane W. Evans
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books
  • Publication year: 2015
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon: “An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –There are many ways to use this book in the classroom. Not only that I think this book should be used in the classroom. As I said in my post on Rosa, books like this are important to include when learning our nation’s bloody history. If young children can put faces, images with cold facts, there is a chance they may not only remember the events more vividly, but feel more emphatic to the people represented in those books who don’t look like them. I found this PDF discussion guide from Penguin Random House themselves. I also found this activity guide from Her Voice Her Vote Our Victory that includes notes on other picture books in addition to this one about the suffragist movement.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. –The illustrations in this picture book are powerful and not be to missed. As Ms. Lillian trudges up the hill to vote, she remembers all the people, men and women, who came before to make this act possible for her. Each page turn is filled with images of Lillian remembering and imaging. And these images are rendered in darker colors like blue and purple and they are see-through, like ghosts.