Goin’ Someplace Special

Bibliographic Information: McKissack, Pat, and Jerry Pinkney. Goin’ Someplace Special. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2000. Print.

Brief Annotation: This story takes place in a segregated southern 1950’s town and follows the journey of an African American girl named ‘Tricia Ann on her way to Someplace Special. Along the way, she is met with “Whites Only”  signs and ignorant people, but soon finds herself at Someplace Special – the public library where “All Are Welcome.”

Genre: Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 3-6

Readers who will like this: Children who enjoy historical fiction, especially those interested in the Civil Rights Movement. Primary and mid-level elementary students love to be kept guessing and will enjoy trying to infer where ‘Tricia’s Someplace Special is.

Rating/Response: 5 – First of all, I love Jerry Pinkney’s detailed and engaging illustrations. Secondly, I really like how this story takes a large issue and scales it down to a personal story with which children can relate and be engaged. It’ll capture students’ curiosity and sympathy almost immediately, and guarantees a genuine conversation about the big issues in the Civil Rights era. This story is actually based on author Patricia C. McKissack’s real experiences as a girl in segregated Nashville!

One question you would ask before a read aloud: Where is someplace special for you that you enjoy going to? Why do you enjoy going there (how does it make you feel?)?

Reading Strategy: Synthesizing, Social Studies

Rationale for Strategy: This book offers opportunities to infer/make predictions, make personal connections, and ask questions. I can see so many ways to use this in the elementary classroom – it can act as an introduction to the Civil Rights movement, or give students with a basic understanding of that era a way to personalize and understand the implications of the time. Students can monitor their change in thinking about segregation as well as the importance of libraries/reading.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller


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