Freedom on the Menu, by Carole Boston WeatherfordFrom Bogey Bear
It is hard for children to imagine what it would be like to live in a segregated country, but this is part of the American legacy and African American experience.  The civil rights movement was pivotal in our history, yet many people learn about it only in passing, as history curriculum in schools still tends to end just after WWII.  The story of the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins is told in a way that children can understand what they were about and why this type of action made a difference.

About the Book
There were signs all throughout town telling eight-year-old Connie where she could and could not go. But when Connie sees four young men take a stand for equal rights at a Woolworth?s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, she realizes that things may soon change. This event sparks a movement throughout her town and region. And while Connie is too young to march or give a speech, she helps her brother and sister make signs for the cause. Changes are coming to Connie?s town, but Connie just wants to sit at the lunch counter and eat a banana split like everyone else.

From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4–Connie likes to shop downtown with her mother. When they feel tired and hot, they stop in at Woolworth's for a cool drink, but stand as they sip their sodas since African Americans aren't allowed to sit at the lunch counter. Weatherford tells the story from the girl's point of view and clearly captures a child's perspective.

Connie wants to sit down and have a banana split, but she can't, and she grumbles that, "All over town, signs told Mama and me where we could and couldn't go." When her father says that Dr. King is coming to town, she asks, "Who's sick?" She watches as her brother and sister join the NAACP and participate in the Greensboro, NC, lunch counter sit-ins. Eventually, Connie and her siblings get to sit down at the counter and have that banana split.

Lagarrigue's impressionistic paintings convey a sense of history as they depict the pervasive signs of a Jim Crow society. An author's note about the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins concludes the book, pointing out the role young African Americans played in the struggle for civil rights. This book will pair well with Angela Johnson's A Sweet Smell of Roses (S & S, 2005).

Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
Gr. 1-3. Set in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960, this picture book tells a story of desegregation from the viewpoint of one little girl. Growing up in the South, Connie understands that there are places where she and other African Americans can and cannot eat, drink, swim, and use the bathroom. But after Dr. King visits the local college chapel to preach and her older siblings become active in the NAACP, she also knows that her people are working for change.

When her brother's friends sit down at a dime-store lunch counter that refuses them service, their act of peaceful protest starts a wave of similar demonstrations that brings better times to their community and throughout the South. An author's note gives background information about the events in Greensboro that year.

Simple and straightforward, the first-person narrative relates events within the context of one close-knit family. Though rather dark, the well-composed, painterly illustrations show up well from a distance. A handsome book for classroom reading, even for middle-grade students.

 Carolyn Phelan Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author
Carole Boston Weatherford is an African American author and critic, now living in North Carolina, United States. She writes children's literature and some historical books, as well as poetry and commentaries.