Reviews for Riding to Washington

Booklist Reviews 2008 March #1
Traveling by bus with her dad to Washington, D.C., in August 1963, a young girl from an all-white neighborhood isn't sure what awaits her. But on the journey, she encounters discrimination when restaurants refuse to serve mixed crowds, and she's made aware of a No Coloreds sign at a gas-station restroom, which she helps a passenger challenge. Then, as part of the huge gathering in Washington, she hears a speech by Dr. King, and she understands that the dream he speaks of belongs to everyone. Geister's unframed, period paintings give a strong sense of the times, from the large picture of the bus on the road to the close-up portraits of the girl and the African American friend she makes during their travels. The child's viewpoint personalizes those archival images of the great March on Washington in this entry in the Tales of Young Americans series. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
In Riding, Janie goes with her father on a bus to hear Martin Luther King Jr. In Lucky, Ruth's school is closed during the Great Depression. Both stories purport to show a child's interpretation of a time in history, though their voices waver unconvincingly between naive and profound. The realistic-looking paintings, though stiff, make good use of light and shadow. [Review covers these Tales of Young Americans titles: Riding to Washington and The Lucky Star.] Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 June

Gr 1-4-- Swain bases this story on her father's remembrances of attending the August 1963 March on Washington, DC. Fed up with Janie's impulsive behavior, Mama sends the girl on a bus trip with her father to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., speak at the Lincoln Memorial. Not many "black folks" live in Janie's part of Indianapolis, but she's seen TV news reports of "coloreds" being sprayed with fire hoses and chased by police dogs in the South. While boarding the bus, she meets the wife of one of her father's employees. Mrs. Taylor is an elegant black woman who wears a matching suit and "hat like Mrs. Kennedy." During the journey, the driver can't locate a restaurant that will serve a "mixed crowd." When they stop at a gas station, Mrs. Taylor decides to ignore the "No Coloreds" sign over the restroom door. Inspired by her determination, Janie accompanies the woman and helps teach the young attendant a quiet lesson in compassion. Listening to Dr. King speak, Janie realizes that his dream is important for everyone, not just African Americans. The text effectively describes Janie's experiences, and readers can easily imagine how they would respond in similar situations. The illustrations provide a strong sense of the period. The soft earth tones and rounded forms create a mood of safety and stability. This heartfelt tale provides an unusual and compelling perspective on a historical event.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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