It takes a village to raise a child and it takes an army to lead a civil rights movement. As we honor Martin Luther King Jr., I’m reminded of several books published this year that show it truly was an army of people making a difference.
Have you ever heard of Georgia Gilmore? I hadn’t either until last November when I read Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Dee Romito and illustrated by Laura Freeman. The blurb about the book says “When the bus boycott began in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama after Rosa Park’s arrest, Georgia Gilmore knew just what to do. She organized a group of of women, the Club from Nowhere, who cooked and baked to fund-raise for the boycott.” Martin Luther King, Jr. used his words and voice to make a difference. Georgia Gilmore used her cooking. Read this book and learn the nickname Martin Luther King, Jr. gave Georgia; but don’t only focus on the story. The illustrations are as wonderful as the story.
Memphis, Martin and the Mountain and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie soars. Info from the front of book, “Author Alice Faye Duncan based the character of Lorraine Jackson on a teacher who participated in the Memphis Sanitation Strike as a child. Using a riveting combination of poetry and prose. She reveals the inspiring story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final stand.” I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know anything about the sanitation strike; nor did I know Coretta Scott King led the strike days after her husband’s assassination. The book says it best. “Despite her broken heart, Mrs. King and members of SCLC helped to keep her husband’s pledge on April 8, 1968.”
Awards season for Children’s Literature is fast approaching. Today, as I read The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore I thought, why should we exclude ourselves to Mock Newberys and Mock Caldecotts. Why not a Mock Coretta Scott King? With twelve days left before winners are announced, it’s too late for me to coordinate a formal Mock Coretta Scott King; but I promise the books below would be on my list.
This award “given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.” (ALA website)
There’s an author award, an illustrator award and a new talent award. I’ll let the committee hash out which book should go where. I’m hoping to see all of these books on one of the lists. In most of the books, we learned about amazing people we didn’t know about. The fictional account of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony sitting down in 1904 with a cup of tea kept us up way past bedtime.