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Riding to Washington (Tales of Young…

Riding to Washington (Tales of Young Americans)

by Gwenyth Swain

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"Riding to Washington," teaches students many lesson: standing up for what you believe in, what it was like for African Americans during that time period, and a little bit about the importance of MLK at that time. I really enjoyed this book because it was an educational story for children. Beautifully written and illustrated.
  SRThompson | Sep 3, 2014 |
This is a great book to use as a supplemental when learning about the Civil Rights Movement. The book centers on one little girls bus journey from Indian to Washington D.C. in 1963, where she is going to hear Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech. The focuses on the little girls realization of how black people are treated differently and what it really means to be segregated.
  natalie.loy | Jun 3, 2014 |
“Riding to Washington” was a very powerful book that I enjoyed immensely. It told the story of a young white girl named Janie who gets into trouble, and as a punishment her mother makes her ride to Washington on a bus overnight with her father. Janie and her father are going to see Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give a speech, but Janie does not understand what his speech has to do with her and her father. She is reluctant to go at first but meets an African American lady on the bus, named Mrs. Taylor, who she immediately bonds with. While on the bus Janie and her father experience what it is like to be an African American in the 1960’s because they are denied entrance into many restaurants and even public restrooms. Finally, Janie and Mrs. Taylor become fed up and demand to use the bathroom at a gas station. At first, the little boy manning the desk denies them but Janie says, “It’s like my mama and daddy always say, “You got the choice to do the right thing or not. Mama says I make a lot of wrong choices, but I think letting us in would be the right one now.” Startled, the boy shoves the key to Janie and Mrs. Taylor and lets them use the restroom. In Washington, Janie, her father, and Mrs. Taylor along with millions of other people stand and listen to Dr. King’s speech. As Janie is listening she still does not understand what Dr. King’s message has to do with her until she feels Mrs. Taylor’s hand on her shoulder. As she looks up she sees tears streaming down Mrs. Taylor’s face and says, “And that’s when I knew it: that the dream belonged not just to Dr. King and Mrs. Taylor and her husband, but to me and Daddy and, maybe even to that boy at the gas station, too.” I love this story because of the powerful and unique message it conveys to readers. I also like it because it is unusual to hear stories about equality for African Americans, from a Caucasian’s perspective. The big idea of the story is to showcase the implications Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech has for all races. Janie is a white girl who at first does not understand how speeches about freedom for African Americans have anything to do with her. However, by the end of the story Janie understands that Dr. King was not just speaking to African American people, but to all people of every race. Janie finally becomes aware that everyone, no matter the color of their skin, has a right to be free and treated equally. Just because she is white does not mean she should ignore what is happening to other races or be treated unfairly herself. On the last page Janie finally realizes that freedom is a natural human right for everyone and that Dr. King was an advocate for all people, which is the main idea of the story. ( )
  MaryBethLingner | Oct 25, 2013 |
This is a powerful book. It's short and not very difficult, but it's really a powerful portrayal of the time. It's unique in that it describes the events of traveling to the March on Washington from the viewpoint of a naive, white child. She describes how little she comprehends the events of the day until personal experience starts to bring the reality of the situation into focus. Really well done. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
Age appropriatness: primary to 3rd grade.
The book is a good example of historical fiction because it tells of Janie's ride with her father to hear Dr. Martin Luther speak his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. This book is set in the 1960's timeframe and is important because that is when Dr. Martin Luther actually made his speech.
The media in this book is acrylic. ( )
  mmandecka | Oct 15, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gwenyth Swainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Geister, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"A young white girl rides the bus with her father to the March on Washington in 1963--at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would give his "I Have a Dream" speech. She comes to see that Dr. King's dream belongs not just to Blacks but to all Americans"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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