4 out of 4 stars
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My Special Day in Jasper, Texas USA by Jermaine Kenyatta is a children’s book about the experiences of Martha Adams, the first black child to attend a white elementary school in Jasper, Texas. The author writes from the perspective of Martha, showing how both black and white children treated her differently after her mother chose to send her to the white school. As the first kid to integrate the school, Martha had to overcome a number of challenges, but her mother and her teacher gave her the support she needed to pave a road that many others would follow on.
Throughout this book, I was continually surprised by how effectively the author communicated Martha’s emotions. I felt both her joy in triumphing against bullies and her disappointment when facing discrimination. The writing puts the reader inside Martha’s head and lets them experience the challenges she faced. It gives you a view into both the incredible complications involved in her situation and the simplicity with which she faced it as a child.
From the first to the last page, it is clear that the author has been extremely thoughtful in creating this book. It honors Martha’s memory while showing that Jasper and America have grown and improved since the events described in the book took place. At the end, there’s even a space for the child reading to interview someone involved in integration so that more stories like this can be recorded.
Overall, I am happy to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I am still amazed by how wonderfully written and thoughtfully produced this book was. If I had to come up with one thing to improve, I would say that the pictures were inconsistent in quality, but this is really a small note in comparison with how great the book was as a whole. I also didn’t find any errors in the book, and it appeared to be very professional.
I would recommend this book to parents of kids ages five and up. Younger kids will likely need help with some of the vocabulary, but I think kids of any age could benefit from having a parent around to explain while reading this book. In a time when the difficulties of the civil rights movement and integration are beginning to be forgotten, this book is a reverent memorial to a young girl who played a small but important part in creating a better tomorrow.
My Special Day in Jasper,Texas USA
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