CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW
Battle against segregation seen through eyes of a child
FREEDOM ON THE MENU: THE GREENSBORO SIT-INS.
By Carole Boston Weatherford.
Dial, 30 pages, $16.99, hardcover.
By Jenny Morris
Special to The Daily
The “Greensboro Four,” were four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College students who refused to move from the “whites only” lunch counter until they were served.
“Freedom on the Menu” is their story seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl.
This segment of the civil rights movement may not be as familiar to children as the bus boycott in Montgomery, but its importance is underscored by the recent acquisition of the counter itself for placement in the Smithsonian Museum.
Carole Boston Weatherford shows us the widespread acceptance of segregation by her character’s reaction to shopping in town with her mother. Signs “all over town” tell her where she can and can’t go, but even where there aren’t any signs she “still knew how it was.”
The Greensboro Four changed all that. The book’s strength lies in being told from a child’s point of view. Watching the little girl being denied ice-cream parlor treats and seeing her accept discrimination as a part of daily life, makes the discrimination personal to the reader. It is easy to envision one’s self in Connie’s place. And as children above all others know, everything hurts more when it’s happening to us.
Children question the relevance of almost everything they must learn in school. Though not the whole answer, perhaps the most accessible answer for a child’s questions as to the importance of the civil rights movement is given in this book. Everyone deserves to enjoy a banana split.
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