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Freedom on the Menu
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About the Author

Carole Boston Weatherford lives in High Point, North Carolina.

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Weatherford (Remember the Bridge) offers a fresh and affecting interpretation of a pivotal event in the civil rights movement. In 1960, four young black men sat down at a segregated Greensboro, N.C., Woolworth lunch counter and asked to be served, sparking a seven-month long protest in that city and inspiring sit-ins throughout the South. As a prelude, narrator Connie explains that she and her mother would often stop for a snack at the five-and-dime store, standing up as they sipped their sodas "because we weren't allowed to sit at the lunch counter." To bring the event home, Weatherford casts friends of Connie's older brother as the famous Greensboro Four, and later Connie's brother and sister also get involved in the protest. The author uses the wise voices of the girl's parents to address age-appropriate questions (e.g., when Connie says she would be too hungry to wait for hours at the lunch counter, as those four did, her father gently explains, "They didn't really want food.... They wanted to be allowed to get it, same as if they were white. To be treated fairly"). Lagarrigue's (My Man Blue) impressionistic paintings in what appear to be layers of oil paints, capture the story's considerable emotion: the protestors' determination, their opposers' disdain, and Connie's concern and ultimate joy as she, in the finale, digs into a banana split at the Woolworth lunch counter. Together, author and artist translate a complex issue into terms youngest readers can understand, in a resonant meshing of fact and fiction. Ages 5-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

K-Gr 4-Connie likes to shop downtown with her mother. When they feel tired and hot, they stop in at Woolworth's for a cool drink, but stand as they sip their sodas since African Americans aren't allowed to sit at the lunch counter. Weatherford tells the story from the girl's point of view and clearly captures a child's perspective. Connie wants to sit down and have a banana split, but she can't, and she grumbles that, "All over town, signs told Mama and me where we could and couldn't go." When her father says that Dr. King is coming to town, she asks, "Who's sick?" She watches as her brother and sister join the NAACP and participate in the Greensboro, NC, lunch counter sit-ins. Eventually, Connie and her siblings get to sit down at the counter and have that banana split. Lagarrigue's impressionistic paintings convey a sense of history as they depict the pervasive signs of a Jim Crow society. An author's note about the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins concludes the book, pointing out the role young African Americans played in the struggle for civil rights. This book will pair well with Angela Johnson's A Sweet Smell of Roses (S & S, 2005).-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Simple and straightforward, the first-person narrative relates events within the context of one close-knit family. (Booklist)

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