Bubba and I read a book the other day called Ron’s Big Mission (by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden), and I liked it well enough that I wanted to share it with all of you.
It’s about a nine-year-old boy in the 1950s who wanted to check out a book at the library, but wasn’t allowed to because of his skin color. The boy’s mother and the police were called, but the boy refused to back down. People told the boy to just let a white person check out the book for him, but he persisted. In the end, he walked out of the library with the book he wanted checked out in his name.
It was the last page that really got me, though. On that page, it tells how the story is a fictionalized account of a real incident from Ron McNair’s life (for those who might not know, Ron McNair was one of the astronauts who perished in the 1986 Challenger explosion).
Needless to say, this is one of those stories I definitely want Bubba to hear again when he gets older… the courage McNair must have had to face this injustice head-on is absolutely inspiring!
I even thought about using it in my classroom, but then I read some of the reviews on Amazon. More than 25% of the people who rated the book said it was one-star because they felt it was “inappropriate” for children! One even said:
“my child never saw people as a “color” before this book. people were just people until this book was read to him. i have now spent 3 weeks trying to undo what this book has done.”
Seriously?! Are parents really going that far to shelter their children from the realities of the past? Should I be worried about what the parents will say/do if I read it to my first graders at school this year? What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment.