Picture Book Party Recap: Goal, Sit-In, Henry Aaron’s Dream & How the Sphinx Got to the Museum

Goal!Goal! by Mina Javaherbin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While young readers may not live in a neighborhood like the boys in this book, have to fetch their water or face the same safety challenges, there is much in this book that transcends boundary. Many children know the joy of a game with friends after homework is done. Many have played football with friends, whether they called it football or soccer, played it with nets or buckets for goals. Ajani has a real treasure he earned at school – a football.

When they see the streets are safe, boys come out to join the game. One boy is the roof top lookout for bullies. When the ball sends one of the goal buckets flying, there is disagreement over whether or not it counts. That brought back a lot of recess supervision memories for me. Before the boys can sort it out, they realize they are facing a trio of older boys on bikes. They try to hide the new ball and not to give anything away to the bullies. Thankfully, the bullies mistake the old plastic ball as the only one.

The author’s note explains the global appeal of football through time. In the middle ages there was a death penalty for playing the game! The illustrations in this book are realistic and heartfelt. They show the wealth of spirit in the boys as the play and deal with bullies.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting DownSit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This picture book offers an accounting of the sit-in started at a North Carolina Woolworth’s lunch counter on February 1, 1960. David, Joseph, Franklin and Ezell, four college students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, ordered and waited for service. They ignored that the counter was for whites only.

Some treated them as though they were invisible, others ignored them. The four students refused to leave until they were served. A police officer came, but he could find no crime in sitting. When Woolworth’s store closed for the night, the four sitting in also went home. The next day, more students came to sit at the counter. From North Carolina, the sit-ins spread to Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and more. People reacted in anger to these sitting students, but still the protesters sat, nonviolent. The book moves on to briefly cover other aspects of the movement leading up to the banning of segregation of public places on July 2, 1964.

Much of this book’s message is conveyed will allusions to food and recipes with sentences such as “Segregation was a bitter mix” and “Integration was a recipe that would take time”. There is a timeline of basic events in the Civil Rights Movement in the back. Here you find that the North Carolina Woolworth’s where the sit-in started desegregated five months after it began. This book has an obvious connection to the teaching of social studies, both in terms of history and in current events.

Henry Aaron's DreamHenry Aaron’s Dream by Matt Tavares
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I initially selected this book to read because I remembered my Dad talking about going to watch the Milwaukee Braves play when he was a little boy. Henry “Hank” Aaron was one of the players he would tell me about.

As a boy, Henry practiced batting by swinging a broom handle and used rags or tin cans for his baseballs. In the 1940s, there were many ball diamonds in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama where he couldn’t play because of the color of his skin. When he turned twelve, a new ball diamond opened, one where the sign read “colored only” instead of “whites only”. Henry didn’t hold his bat the right way, but he’d play until the night was too dark and until he could hit harder than anyone else at Carver Park.

A year later, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in big league baseball and Henry Aaron now had a chance at his dream. He heard of the challenges, knew what he would face, but kept working to get into the big leagues. While still in high school, Henry was able to play for a local semi-pro team. When first he had a chance to try out for the Dodgers, he was dismissed as someone too small who played wrong. That didn’t stop Henry. The book follows his progress until he makes it into the major leagues and his family sees him play in an exhibition game in Mobile.

The illustrations in this book are gorgeous. This would be a great picture book for not only sports fans, but for discussing civil rights and following dreams. It could also be a good fit for students studying either Alabama or Wisconsin history. Of particular interest to many baseball fans will be the statistics chart at the end of the book.

How The Sphinx Got To The MuseumHow The Sphinx Got To The Museum by Jessie Hartland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This picture book is what happens when This is the House that Jack Built gets mixed up with history, Egyptian history to be precise. A museum worker (docent) is telling students about Hatshepsut and the art created in her honor. This leads students to asking what a sphinx was and how artwork destroyed after her death landed in a museum.

The docent then recounts the history of the sphinx from the order of its creation to its destruction and on to its discovery by archaeologists all the way until its existence in a museum today. Each person or category of people in the telling has a unique styling of background and letters. This would help students join in on saying those names and titles in a read-aloud.

The book is a great introduction to a number of occupations children may never have thought about or encountered outside of Indiana Jones. From curators to conservators, archaeologists to docents, they all have a place in this book. The book also provides a great way to discuss recreations and replicas, including why recreated parts are not painted to exactly match the original material.

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