Grandmama's Pride

by Becky Birtha and Colin Bootman

“The back seat is the best on the bus,” Mama explains. “It’s... read more

“The back seat is the best on the bus,” Mama explains. “It’s big and wide and roomy.” Two young African American sisters who live in the north have come south with their mama to stay with her family for the summer. “Wait until we get home,” their grandmother tells them as they eye the public water fountain on a hot day. “Grandmama’s going to fix you ice-cold, lemon mint tea.” The adults want to protect the girls from the sting of segregation for as long as they can. But the story’s narrator, who is six, is also learning to read. By summer’s end, she’s able to comprehend all the signs that she’d never noticed before, such as “Whites Only” on the water fountain and “Colored Waiting Room” in the shabbiest part of the bus station. It’s a hurtful awakening. In Becky Birtha’s touching story of a proud and loving family, the girl’s pain is eased a little by the knowledge that she can help protect her younger sister, for awhile longer at least; and lightened greatly the following year, when the laws have started to change. (Ages 6–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

show less