Synopses & Reviews
A story of little ballerinas with big dreams.
Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams dont always come truethey take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by.
But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldnt stop them from becoming a star.
In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true.
"Set in Mississippi during the summer of 1964, Wiles's affecting debut children's book about two boys one white and the other African-American underscores the bittersweet aftermath of the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Rather than opening public pools, roller rinks and shops to African-Americans, many towns and private owners boarded up the doors. Wiles delivers her message incisively through the credible voices of her young characters, narrator Joe and his best friend, John Henry, whose mother works as housekeeper for Joe's family. Joe and John spend many hours swimming together in the creek because John is not allowed in the public pool, so on the day the Civil Rights Act is enacted, they visit the town pool together, excited about diving for nickels in the clear water. Instead they find a work crew including John Henry's older brother filling in the pool with asphalt. 'John Henry's voice shakes. "White folks don't want colored folks in their pool."' The tale ends on an upbeat if tenuous note, as the boys walk together through the front door of a once-segregated shop to buy ice pops. Lagarrigue's (My Man Blue) softly focused, impressionistic paintings capture the lazy feel of summer days and affirm the bond between the two boys. The artist's close-up portraits of the boys' faces, as well as the body language of other characters, reinforce the narrative's powerful emotional pitch. Ages 4-8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
andlt;Iandgt;John Henry swims better than anyone I know.andlt;BRandgt; He crawls like a catfish,andlt;BRandgt; blows bubbles like a swamp monster,andlt;BRandgt; but he doesn't swim in the town pool with me.andlt;BRandgt; He's not allowed. andlt;/Iandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one important way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there...only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people's hearts.
The winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award, this work introduces a white boy living in the South of 1964, who recounts his first experience of racial prejudice--and his friendship with a black boy that defied it. Full color.
John Henry swims better than anyone I know.
He crawls like a catfish,
blows bubbles like a swamp monster,
but he doesn't swim in the town pool with me.
He's not allowed.
Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one important way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there...only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people's hearts.
About the Author
Deborah Wiles was born in Alabama and grew up in an Air Force family, moving many times but digging deep roots into the Mississippi soil of her extended family. She still travels and#8220;down Southand#8221; today from her longtime home in Frederick, Maryland, where she lives with her family and works as a freelance writer. She also teaches writing and oral history workshopsand#8212;sharing with children how all history is really biography, and how every personand#8217;s story is important. andlt;i andgt;Freedom Summerandlt;/iandgt; is her first book.Jerome Lagarrigue was born and grew up in Paris, France, in a family of artists. Mr. Lagarrigue is the illustrator of andlt;i andgt;Freedom Summer andlt;/iandgt;as well as andlt;iandgt;My Man Blueandlt;/iandgt; by Nikki Grimes, and his work has also appeared in the andlt;iandgt;New Yorkerandlt;/iandgt; and on the cover of the andlt;iandgt;New York Times Book Review.andlt;/iandgt; A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he teaches drawing and painting at Parsons School of Design and lives in Brooklyn, New York.