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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for 'justice'.

As Time Went By is a deceptively simple story in three parts about: a ship that breaks down and is eventually abandoned, a prosperous family that loses their wealth and has to go live with the other poor people, and a group of poor people who fix up a ship to use it for their new home.

The story is low on details, and seems sad at first, but I liked the ending. I like how the story forms a loop -- following the ship from its prosperous days, through abandonment, and then to its upcycled use as a dwelling. I suppose this story might be about class. It also asks (in a way subtle enough that children might miss it): what makes a person important?

Maybe it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I really liked it, and the smoky illustrations were lovely as well.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Jose Sanabria
Pages: 48
Content Advisory: None

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On the surface, Mixed looks like a book about mixing colors. I'd been looking for something like this that would give kids a visual of primary/secondary colors, and I thought it would be great if it was told in a story format to make things more interesting.

Turns out this story does involve mixing colors, but it has a lot more going on and I really like how the deeper issue was portrayed through a relatively simple story. With descriptive but succinct text, the narrative begins with three color populations living together in a city, who soon decide to live apart after an argument about which one is better. Each color keeps their distinctive traits sequestered in their own part of the city, until one day a blue and a yellow meet, fall in love, and decide to... *gulp*... mix!

So while it's about art, it's also about racism, and could probably be applied to many other distinctives that have become ways by which people have tried to assert superiority over others. Perhaps it's oversimplified, but for a short and sweet fable, I though it worked really well, and didn't feel heavy-handed to me.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author/Illustrator: Arree Chung
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: None

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Grandad Mandela serves as a wonderful introduction to the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, who brought an end to racial apartheid while president of South Africa. 

The book is written as a conversation between the book's author, Zindzi Mandela, who is Nelson Mandela's daughter, and her two grandchildren, Zazi and Ziwelene. While the conversation primarily serves to structure the narrative, it also brings a sense of familial connection and pride to Mandela's story.

In order to adequately cover the major events of Mandela's life, the story also explains important concepts from that time and place that might not make as much sense to children these days, such as apartheid, justice (especially as it related to apartheid), and the African principle of "Ubuntu" -- treating others as we would want to be treated, and in Mandela's case, forgiving his enemies in order to work with them for the betterment of the entire country.

In addition to the thorough (without being too wordy) and important story, the illustrations here are wonderful -- they capture the view of Mandela as a single, important person, but also his fight for justice and the way it encompassed an entire country -- and the colors are wonderful too.

This is a great way for children to learn about an important historical figure, and for those of us who are older, it can serve as a jumping-off point for further reading.

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)

Scrounged From: NetGalley

Format: Kindle
Author: Ambassador Zindzi Mandela, Zazi and Ziwelene Mandela
Illustrator: Sean Qualls
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: Very little is actually said of violence ("fight" is generally used as a more theoretical term, implying the general fight for justice), but there is one scene that depicts two white policeman with sticks raised over two black people who are on the ground -- no blood, but it gives a visual of the racial dominance that was upheld under apartheid. There is mention of Mandela's long prison term, and how difficult it was to keep his spirits up.

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With a title like Separate Is Never Equal, it makes sense to assume this book is about segregation and the Civil Rights movement, and it is -- but it takes place several years before the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. This story is about Sylvia Mendez and her family's fight to desegregate schools in their region of California. At the time this story takes place, Hispanic children were sent to separate schools than white children in some places.

The general story is framed by the story of Sylvia Mendez's first day at her new (formerly "white") school. She is nervous, and one child tells her to go back to the Mexican school. When she comes home and tells her mother about it, her mother reminds her why they fought -- which takes us back to the story of the Mendezes' battle to allow their children to go to the school nearest their home -- not to the "Mexican school" which was not equal in funding or quality.

Despite the fact that Sylvia Mendez spoke perfect English and was American by citizenship, not Mexican, she was told that attending a separate school was simply "how it was done." No one gave them a reasonable answer to their questions of "Why?" But it eventually came out in the court case, quite clearly -- the school administrators simply believed that white students were superior to Hispanic ones.

It's a very interesting story, and it communicates the timeline and scope of events in a way that children can understand. The framing of the story helps to give a context to all of the legal processes -- in the end, Sylvia is able to attend her new school with a sense of pride because she knows that she and her family fought hard for that right. It's not surprising that her case received support from the NAACP, among other organizations, because this case helped open the door for national desegregation of schools. And I'd never heard of it or Sylvia Mendez before now -- I'm grateful to author/illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh for making it accessible in this way.

At the end of the book are some more detailed notes about the events in the story and some photos, as well as a glossary and bibliography.

Scrounged From: Amazon (Kindle)

Format: Kindle
Author/illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: The court case involves expressions of racist views of Hispanic people.

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The Youngest Marcher is a story of a girl I'd never heard of before -- Audrey Faye Hendricks, who at nine years old was the youngest known marcher to go to jail for protesting segregation during the Civil Rights Movement. 

I thought this book did a good job of balancing its tone between serious and lighthearted. Reading about a young girl being kept for a week in a dirty jail cell is sad and disturbing, but also important. But the story keeps its eye on the prize, and focuses on young Audrey's determination, sense of justice and, at the end, pride at having helped to accomplish the removal of segregation laws. 

She was fortunate in that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a family friend who ate at their table and spoke at their church. He said that an "unjust law is no law at all," and called on people to fill the jails in protest. When there weren't enough people filling the jails, he declared that they should fill the jails with children, and that is what happened. 

I think this book has potential to communicate the before-and-after picture of segregation very well, in a way that children can understand. Of course, parents/teachers should use discretion as to children's age/maturity levels, but I think Audrey Hendricks' ability to put a child's face on the Civil Rights Movement is very important.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Cynthia Levinson
Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley Newton
Pages: 40
Content Advisory: As mentioned, a little girl spends a week in jail, and protestors describe being sprayed by water hoses and chased by the KKK.

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