Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: Ruth and the Green Book

I try not to accept books for review if they don't match the Bibliophile's current reading level.  Otherwise, I just end up having to read them on my own time and review them without him, and it seems like a lot of work, and not nearly as fun.  I made an exception when I heard about Ruth and the Green Book.  I hope some of you with older kids might find the review useful.

Ruth and the Green Book (Carolrhoda Picture Books)
Ruth and the Green Book
 (Reading Level: Ages 4-8)

Ruth (an African American girl) sets out on a road trip from Chicago to Alabama with her parents in the 1950's.  Along the way, she realizes that parts of the country are not very welcoming to non-whites - a gas station refuses to let her mother use the restroom, and a hotel owner forces them to sleep in their car for the night.  Fortunately, her parents discover and purchase the "Green Book."  Written in 1936 by a man named Victor Green, the Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that would serve African Americans in every city.  With the Green Book, Ruth and her family are able to safely finish their journey to Alabama, and Ruth learns a sweet lesson about helping others along the way.  The book is beautifully illustrated and written. 

I'm so glad that I decided to read this one for myself.  I didn't end up sharing any of it with the Bibliophile yet, but it will be a wonderful teaching aid when the time is right.  And in the meantime, I learned a little something new myself (I had never heard of the Green Book).

Question: At what age did you start talking about inequality or injustice with your children?  Are they any books you find particularly useful in this regard?

Disclosure: We were provided with a copy of Ruth and the Green Book in order to write this review.  Also, if you click on any of the links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affilate relationship with


Sam and Boo said...

This looks excellent. I'll add it to my list for when Boo is older.

I don't know what age to start talking about inequality and injustice. I imagine as soon as your child seems old enough to understand the concepts, which I guess would be right about the time they start yelling about things not being fair. :)

As much as it pains me to think about it, Boo is likely to experience unfairness quite a bit in his life, and books like this that teach how other people have had (and are currently having) to deal with it are going to be very helpful. Thanks for the rec, and I look forward to other comments mentioning more books like this one.

I love your questions, by the way. Great feature to make us think.

MaryAnne said...

I didn't know about the Green Book either. This book sounds like one I'd like to add to our library.