Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goin' Someplace Special


McKissack, P. (2001). Goin' someplace special. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
This book is a 2002 Coretta Scott King Award winner.

This story is about 'Tricia Ann, a young girl who finally has her grandmother's blessing to go to her favorite place all by herself.  Like a couple of other books I have read recently, this is a little more problematic because it is the 1950's and she is African-American.  Because of this, her travels are a little more challenging and she has to be mindful of "rules" of the time.  'Tricia Ann becomes frustrated with the rules, but keeps her eyes on her goal of reaching her special place.  As you read the book, you aren't sure where she is headed, but you can tell it is a place that makes her very happy.  Each time she is faced with a challenge or obstacle, she reminds herself that she is "gon' think about Someplace Special."  The author, Patricia McKissack does a wonderful job of interjecting history into the story, even having Elvis show up at a hotel that 'Tricia Ann is walking by.  There is irony in parts, like when she gets to the park her grandfather helped build but can't sit on the park bench because it says "For Whites Only." As 'Tricia Ann travels, she is encouraged along the way by people who care about her and push her to continue on.  Eventually she gets to her "Someplace Special" and you discover that all along she was headed to the public library.  How inspiring to read the words on the entrance that say "All Are Welcome."  Here 'Tricia Ann finds a sense of peace and comfort!

I love reading this book to my students each year.  Not only does it give them a feel for what life must have been like during this time period, but it also shows them that regardless of skin color or any other differences, the library is one place where all are equal. The illustrations by Jerry Pinkney support the story and help set the mood for the book. 

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