Get Up, Stand Up
|The Coretta Scott King Award, |
picture borrowed from http://jaysanalysis.com/2010/11/
Just as I wondered the best way to educate my students, I also questioned which books were best to share today. Books about the man himself? Books about other movers and shakers? Something different? Well, a trip to Vroman's helped me decide. I bring to you two books that won the Coretta Scott King Award last year. (The new winners will be announced next week!) The Coretta Scott King Award, named for MLK's wife, has been awarded every year since 1969. In 1970, the award was expanded not only to a writer, but also an illustrator. The quote below is taken directly from the American Library Association's website,
"Given to African American authors and illustrator for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society.
The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood."
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Bryan Collier won the CSK illustrator's award for this book. It tells the story of a slave, known only as Dave, who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. He was a skilled potter who inscribed short poems on some of is pottery. Much of his life is unknown, especially how he came to read and write. Hill's words are accompanied by Collier's beautiful art. Collier mentions in his note at the end that there weren't any photographs of Dave so he based his work on someone who he felt, "reflected the spirit of Dave." His use of watercolor and collage bring the life of Dave, and his pottery, together beautifully.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
The cover of this book is decorated with almost as many awards a book can win. Boasting the CSK Award, it was also a National Book Award Finalist, a Newbery Honor Book, and it won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. This morning I discovered why. Williams-Garcia unlocks the story of three little girls who visit Oakland, California in 1968. They travel from Brooklyn to Oakland to meet their long-lost mother. They discover that their mother is a poet and part of the Black Panther movement. However, according to the girls, she is not much of a mother. She does not hug, cook, or even spend time with them. Not really sure what the Blank Panthers are all about, every day they are sent to "The People's Center" where they learn about the founders, make posters, and try to keep a "normal" summer vacation. The oldest daughter, Delphine, feels responsible to protect her younger sisters but also finds herself questioning her own beliefs.
At one point she struggles with whether or not she should attend a rally with her sisters. "I wanted to watch the news. Not be in it." I read this line thinking of my students, my friends, and my own life. How many of us feel scared of taking risks reasons similar to this?
It takes a lot of courage to act. It is much easier to watch, listen, and observe things in life. Sit back and it will all work out. Those other people will get things done. And yet there is so much to be done in this world. So today, my friends, take the time to ask yourselves, what are you fighting for?