How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down
By Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Sit-In: how four friends stoop up by sitting down. Ill. by Brian Pinkney. NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2010. ISBN 9780316070164
"A doughnut and coffee with cream on the side" is all David, Joseph, Franklin, and Ezell wanted when they went and sat at the Woolworth's lunch counter on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina. These four black college students had Martin Luther King Jr.'s words in their heads and a plan in there hearts. When the employees ignore them and refuse to take their order, they do not get angry or violent. They simple sit and wait quietly day after day until more students black and white and in different states and cities start joining the sit-in movement. This act of peace and determination made a great contribution to stopping the injustice of segregation in the United States.
This book is a wonderfully executed non-fiction book created by a wife (author) and husband (illustrator) team. Andrea tells the story using a poetic element and really brings in the era with quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. sprinkled throughout the story. Those quotes offer up the encouragement and passion to end segregation. Her characters are true to the time and culture and when the white student join in the movement the reader experiences the amazing interaction with the different cultures.
Brian Pinkney uses bright watercolors and Indian ink for his beautiful illustrations. The ink really emphasizes the detail of the pictures. He does an excellent job of displaying the story line while being accurate to the time period. The illustrations greatly complement the text and story.
Not only do the Pinkney's provide a great re-telling of the sit-in's, they also offer a Civil Right timeline and "A Final Helping" by Andrea Pinkney in the back of the book. I definitely recommend having this book in all public and school libraries. This is a great book to teach about the 1960s and the segregation of blacks and whites. This book is an wonderful example of how a story should celebrate the diversity of cultures.
- "Through effectively chosen words, Andrea Pinkney brings understanding and meaning to what four black college students accomplished on February 1, 1960, by sitting down at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, NC." -School Library Journal
- "This compelling picture book is based on the historic sit-in 50 years ago by four college students who tried to integrate a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. ... Even young children will grasp the powerful, elemental, and historic story of those who stood up to oppressive authority and changed the world." -Booklist starred review
Introduce other books related to freedom and equality for blacks.
- Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles
- If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
Have a discussion with the students about how they would feel if they were treated like the four college boys were.