BookWalk: Forever Young

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Forever Young, by Bob Dylan and illustrated by Paul Rogers, offers a timeless blessing to all generations.

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This selection repeats Bob Dylan’s words of hopefulness and expectation as he looks in to the future and finds a world in which peace and harmony reign.  Rogers, the illustrator, has graciously allowed us to see his vision of those words and that world.

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Not only does this book repeat the lyrics of the classic song, but through Rogers’ illustrations numerous tributes are made to people and places that colored the 1960s.

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In the initial illustrations, a young boy is captured by the singing and strumming of a man on the street.  The man gives a guitar to the little boy; passing on the tool of his trade and the blessings that accompany it.

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Throughout the pages, the reader sees the young man grow and mature as he follows in the footsteps of the street musician and his message.  Eventually, the young man passes on that old guitar to a young girl with full expectation of the continuance of the message.

This book satisfies me in multiple ways.  It speaks to my musician, my teacher, and my book lover.  I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Forever Young

Bob Dylan, Author (Composer)

Paul Rogers, Illustrator

Atheneum

ISBN:  1-4169-5808-8

BookWalk: The Story of Ruby Bridges (Revisited in Honor of Black History Month)

The Story of Ruby Bridges is based on the true story of a brave young lady who, in 1960, became the first African-American child to attend a school that had previously been attended by all white children.  At the age of six years Ruby took on a challenge that most adults would have never dared to assume.

Ruby’s family was from Mississippi and her father worked in the fields until machines began doing the jobs of the men.  When he lost his job he moved Ruby, her mother, and siblings to New Orleans, Louisiana where he began working as a janitor and her mother cleaned the floors of a bank.  Regardless of where they lived or where they worked, Ruby’s parents always made faith a priority and every Sunday the family worshipped together in church.

In 1960, the schools of New Orleans were still not integrated and a judge ordered that four African-American girls begin attending white elementary schools.  Three of the girls went to one school, but Ruby was sent to the William Frantz Elementary School all by herself.

Ruby’s parents were proud of their child’s important commission and they prayed that God would strengthen them all for the days ahead.  On Ruby’s first day at her new school the President ordered that federal marshals accompany her into the school-house amid the jeers and angry picketers on the sidewalk.

The parents of the white students refused to send their children if Ruby was to be there.  Ruby faithfully attended every day and she and her teacher, Miss Hurley studied together diligently.  Miss Hurley was amazed at Ruby’s ability to walk through the angry mobs on a daily basis and still calmly and happily learn new lessons.  There’s more to the story, but I’ll let you discover that on your own when you read the book and share it with your children.

Robert Coles, a child psychiatrist and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, detailed this account of Ruby’s story.  The illustrator, George Ford, has won both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award for his visual portrayals of various works of children’s literature.

Give this one a read and please share any creative lesson activities that would accompany it.

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Robert Coles, author

George Ford, illustrator

Scholastic

ISBN:  0-590-43968-5

BookWalk: The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges is based on the true story of a brave young lady who, in 1960, became the first African-American child to attend a school that had previously been attended by all white children.  At the age of six years Ruby took on a challenge that most adults would have never dared to assume. 

Ruby’s family was from Mississippi and her father worked in the fields until machines began doing the jobs of the men.  When he lost his job he moved Ruby, her mother, and siblings to New Orleans, Louisiana where he began working as a janitor and her mother cleaned the floors of a bank.  Regardless of where they lived or where they worked, Ruby’s parents always made faith a priority and every Sunday the family worshipped together in church. 

In 1960, the schools of New Orleans were still not integrated and a judge ordered that four African-American girls begin attending white elementary schools.  Three of the girls went to one school, but Ruby was sent to the William Frantz Elementary School all by herself. 

Ruby’s parents were proud of their child’s important commission and they prayed that God would strengthen them all for the days ahead.  On Ruby’s first day at her new school the President ordered that federal marshals accompany her into the school-house amid the jeers and angry picketers on the sidewalk.

The parents of the white students refused to send their children if Ruby was to be there.  Ruby faithfully attended every day and she and her teacher, Miss Hurley studied together diligently.  Miss Hurley was amazed at Ruby’s ability to walk through the angry mobs on a daily basis and still calmly and happily learn new lessons.  There’s more to the story, but I’ll let you discover that on your own when you read the book and share it with your children. 

Robert Coles, a child psychiatrist and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, detailed this account of Ruby’s story.  The illustrator, George Ford, has won both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award for his visual portrayals of various works of children’s literature.

Give this one a read and please share any creative lesson activities that would accompany it. 

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Robert Coles, author

George Ford, illustrator

Scholastic

ISBN:  0-590-43968-5

Social Justice: An Educational Perspective Part Two (Components of Social Justice)

                       Social justice can be more clearly understood by first understanding its three components:  1) the recognition of the needs and rights of the individual student; 2) the understanding that social justice requires change and activism; and 3) that this type of advocacy is “intentional, deliberate, and conscious.”   (Crow, Matthews. 2010.)  It’s by clarifying these components that we also have to recognize social justice as the foundational thrust for advocacy. 

            The recognition of the needs and rights of the individual student accomplishes a lot more than simply benefiting the singular child.  It also improves the education of all students by protecting each of them from forces that would block access to information and educational possibilities.  It doesn’t matter what characteristics or beliefs a student has.  There will be an opposing power from which he must be shielded.

            The understanding that social justice requires change and activism means that we, as educators, can’t stop at just recognizing the needs and rights of the individual student.  If it were that easy we could all make grand statements, give ourselves a collective pat on the back, and celebrate our benevolent spirits with a latte.  We have to go past what makes us feel good and push ahead to make sure that he has full access in the most edifying and nurturing atmosphere possible.  This demands that we create an environment filled with care, driven by justice, and positive criticism.  Yes.  It requires some action, dare I say hard work, on our parts.  We may run in to some opposition, but if we refuse to meet the challenge, we will knowingly deprive children of the power of knowledge and their personal ability to revolutionize their world.

             “Intentional, deliberate, and conscious” (Crow, Matthews. 2010.) advocacy requires us, as teachers and administrators, to commit to becoming life-long learners in search of fresh understanding and innovative methods.  This commitment will keep us on the cutting-edge of the social justice movement.  We have to continually assess every aspect of the school environment to assure that equity is functioning for all students and stakeholders.  Additionally, we have to follow a vision and a mission that guides the ever-transforming landscape of the school house.  In doing all of these things, social justice will be preserved, strengthened, and ultimately result in a more productively diverse society in which individual creativity and united collaboration will be allowed to flourish. 

 

References

Crow, Gary M.; Matthews, L. Joseph.  (2010).  The principalship:  new roles in a

professional learning community.  Pearson Higher Education.  Boston, Massachusetts.