It was February 1, 1960. They didn't need menus. Their order was simple. A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side.
Courageously defying the WHITES ONLY edict of the era, four young black men took a stand against the injustice of segregation in America by sitting down at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's department store. Countless others of all races soon joined the cause following Martin Luther King Jr.'s powerful words of peaceful protest. By sitting down together, they stood up for civil rights and created the perfect recipe for integration not only at the Woolworth's counter, but on buses and and in communities throughout the South.
Poetic storytelling and exuberant illustrations combine to celebrate a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality.
The latest collaboration by this husband-and-wife team (the Caldecott Honor book Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra) recreates the renowned 1960 sit-in staged by four black college students at a Greensboro “whites only” lunch counter. The narrative incorporates a steady stream of food metaphors, noting that the students ignored the law’s “recipe” for segregation (“a bitter mix”) replacing it the “new brew” of integration. Unfortunately, this device is more trite than moving (“Their order was simple: A double dose of peace, with nonviolence on the side”) and, at times, can come across as glib. Brief quotations by Martin Luther King Jr. appear in large, blocky text, emphasizing his influence on the actions of this quartet as well as those who followed their lead, staging sit-ins across the South. Brian Pinkney’s sinuous watercolor and ink art conveys the solidity and determination of the activists as well as a building energy that grew out of their act of civil disobedience. A succinct civil rights time line and additional facts and suggested reading about the topic round out this account. Ages 6–up. (Feb.)