Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Have a Dream, Too!


I Have a Dream, Too! by Jean Alicia Elster is the second book in the "Joe Joe in the City" series. This contribution to the study of Black History has ten year-old Joe Joe learning about Mary McLeod Bethune, for whom his library was named.

Joe Joe walks into his library, beaming with pride as he just received his report card with all A's and a B in handwriting. Mrs. Morgan, the librarian who is his friend, hands him a book about Mary McLeod Bethune to read. On his way out, Joe Joe tells his friends that he has aspirations to go to college, and will write his paper about his dream for the future about it. His friends make fun of him, because kids from that neighborhood never go to college.

That night, Joe Joe starts to read about Mary. Her parents worked hard to earn money as sharecroppers to eventually earn their own 35 acres of land. They were also illiterate. Mary had a strong desire to learn how to decipher those markings within the books she saw, including the family Bible.

A teacher went around the county seeking African American children to educate. Mary's parents willingly let their daughter go. She was a quick study, making her way all the way through high school. She then attended a two-year college in preparation for missionary work in Africa. Unable to make the trip, because there was no space for an African- American to go, she chose to instead start her own school, which eventually became a four-year college. Bethune was also given a special position in the National Youth Administration by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

As Joe reads the story of Mary McLeod Bethune, he goes on his own personal journey of figuring out how to be as successful. He begins to work for the shopkeeper, Mr. Booth, to start saving money. He tries to ignore the taunts of the other children in his neighborhood. He tries to find the same strength and determination within himself that Mary was able to find in herself.

Though written as an inspirational book for Black History, the lessons contained within this book can apply to children of any race. Kids need to set their goals high, and do whatever it takes to get there, while following ethical ideals. Success is dependent on hard work, and there will be people trying to bring you down. A good support system at home, at school, and within the community can help you achieve anything.

Again, this book is more appropriate for the elementary sect, but is a beneficial addition to the collection.

Purchase I Have a Dream, Too! (Joe Joe in the City)

I received a copy of this book from the author.

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