Friday, February 25, 2011

These Hands

This February, celebrate all that your hands are able to do - things not all hand were able to do prior to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Mason, Margaret.
These Hands.
March 2011.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

When a grandfather shares all of the things his hands could and couldn't do when he was younger, children learn of a very different time in history - a time when African American hands weren't able to mix bread dough in the Wonder Bread factory, weren't able to touch the bread dough in the Wonder Bread factory. The only things those hands were able to do were sweep the floors, work the line, and load the trucks - lesser work that did not involve touching bread, as white people would not want to eat bread touched by African American hands. The grandfather then shares of the actions taken by African Americans (writing petitions, carrying signs, raising their voices) to enable future generations of African Americans to "mix the bread dough" no matter the color of their hands.

This is a wonderfully written book that shares the tribulations and triumphs African American's faced during times of racial discrimination. While the Wonder Bread factory is specifically mentioned here, it is merely representative of nearly all means of employment African American's faced. The story is simply told and easy to understand, making it perfect for children as young as age 5. Definitely worth sharing this February as part of Black History Month.

Learning/Reading Activity:
  • Take a picture of the hands of your child(ren). Discuss the things they are able to do. Discuss things they aren't able to do or wouldn't have been able to do prior to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Have them then share something that they feel fortunate that their hands are able to do! Mat their photo and response on colorful construction paper and create a bulletin board to share their work!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to I am an Amazon Affiliate, so any purchases you make after clicking these images will result in my receiving a small percentage of the sale price!