Module 7: Information Nonfiction/Biography/SLIS 5420
Pinkney, Andrea Davis. (2010). Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down. (B. Pinkney, Illus.) New York: Hachette Books.
Sit-In is an inspiring book about social change and the fight for civil rights. The authors portray the lunch counter protests of the Civil Rights Movement in a format that emphasizes key themes such as “Be loving enough to absorb evil” and “We are all leaders.” This book is inspiring in its message and its beauty. The illustrations and format (with quotes from Dr. King and other leaders in a larger font) teach and exhort. The author has succeeded in bringing a complex issue to a young audience in a forthright and inspirational manner. I was impressed with the way the authors not only told an important story in a manner that children can understand and enjoy, but they also managed to incorporate and teach the philosophies that were inherent to the movement. A timeline of the Civil Rights Movement helps the reader to undertand context and history. This book is emotionally powerful and thought-provoking.
“Andrea Davis Pinkney’s Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down (Little, Brown, 2010) describes the four brave college students who started a protest in Greensboro, NC. African Americans could shop at the local Woolworth’s, but the only black people who were allowed at the lunch counter were the waitstaff, as depicted in Brian Pinkney’s glowing illustrations. On February 1, 1960, four young men sat down and each ordered coffee and a doughnut, with cream on the side. They were ignored, but they kept sitting. White people threw food at them, yelled at them, threatened them. Committed to Dr. King’s assertion that nonviolence was the only answer to racial hatred, the students ignored their attackers. And it worked. The four students were joined by others. It took guts, patience, and determination, but by July of that same year, the lunch counter at Woolworth’s was desegregated”.
Baxter, Kathleen. (2010, June 1). The Civil Rights Movement Through Kid’s Eyes. Review of Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.libraryjournal.com
This book can bring an historical unit to life when teaching at the elementary (and even at the middle school level) about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. It would make a great book for a social studies unit for elementary aged children or middle school (possibly high school) as a teaching aid for reading aloud or to use for a project. The book could be well used to teach about how to respond to injustice and to facilitate discussions about unfair treatment, standing up for yourself in an appropriate way, and challenging social ills or inequity in a constructive manner.