The African-American Experience

The African-American experience is a vitally important part of American history, yet it is hidden too frequently from those who are not direct participants. Often it has been buried deliberately because it is painful both in its humiliations of black people and in the shameful light it casts on the character and compassion of white people. Yet it is crucial that we do not neglect this part of our history, that we do not sweep it aside, that we do not allow it to be distorted for political or other purposes, that we do not forget its wider context, that we do not fail to understand the fundamental contradiction between our founding fathers proclaiming that “all men are created equal” while they kept slaves, and that we do not fail to understand how it still shapes our world in the 21st century. 

We offer a number of books to help children access and understand the African-American experience in as broad a context as possible. It is hard to convey to children now the emotional content of the African-American experience from times when slavery or segregation prevailed. Historical fiction is a useful medium for doing this. We are also concerned with the experiences of young African-American children in school, and we have published two books aimed at helping to identify, program for, and ameliorate the experiences of gifted black youth.

The African-American experience is a vitally important part of American history, yet it is hidden too frequently from those who are not direct participants. Often it has been buried deliberately because it is painful both in its humiliations of black people and in the shameful light it casts on the character and compassion of white people. Yet it is crucial that we do not neglect this part of our history, that we do not sweep it aside, that we do not allow it to be distorted for political or other purposes, that we do not forget its wider context, that we do not fail to understand the fundamental contradiction between our founding fathers proclaiming that “all men are created equal” while they kept slaves, and that we do not fail to understand how it still shapes our world in the 21st century. 

We offer a number of books to help children access and understand the African-American experience in as broad a context as possible. It is hard to convey to children now the emotional content of the African-American experience from times when slavery or segregation prevailed. Historical fiction is a useful medium for doing this. We are also concerned with the experiences of young African-American children in school, and we have published two books aimed at helping to identify, program for, and ameliorate the experiences of gifted black youth.

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The Narrative of Frederick Douglass

Author: Douglass, Frederick; Thompson, Michael Clay

Subjects: Language Arts; Slavery; Reading; Literature; MCT Curriculum; African-Americans

Age: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-0-89824-854-8

Order code: 8548

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 8548S

The Narrative of Frederick Douglass Cover

Now your child can enjoy The Narrative of Frederick Douglass as a Michael Clay Thompson language-illustrated classic. The book is reproduced in its entirety and includes Michael's "language illustrations"—close-ups of poetic techniques, four-level analyses of interesting grammar, and comments about writing strategies. Challenging vocabulary is defined at the bottom of each page.

The full title of this book—one of the most significant works of American letters—is The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself.  According to Michael, it is "a book that every American student should read." It is the remarkable and harrowing story of Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), who was born into slavery and poverty in Maryland but who managed to escape with the help of the Underground Railroad and later became a powerful voice for freedom and equality. At the time he wrote his narrative, it was still too dangerous to name those who had helped him escape.

Much of the power of Douglass’s writing comes from his flat, direct, declarative statements of terrible truths. His early life was marked by cruelty and degradation, yet also by a determination to learn to read, to be educated, and to run away.

Now your students can enjoy The Narrative of Frederick Douglass as a Michael Clay Thompson language-illustrated classic. The book is reproduced in its entirety and includes Michael's "language illustrations"—close-ups of poetic techniques, four-level analyses of interesting grammar, and comments about writing strategies. Challenging vocabulary is defined at the bottom of each page.

The full title of this book—one of the most significant works of American letters—is The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself.  According to Michael, it is "a book that every American student should read." It is the remarkable and harrowing story of Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), who was born into slavery and poverty in Maryland but who managed to escape with the help of the Underground Railroad and later became a powerful voice for freedom and equality. At the time he wrote his narrative, it was still too dangerous to name those who had helped him escape.

Much of the power of Douglass’s writing comes from his flat, direct, declarative statements of terrible truths. His early life was marked by cruelty and degradation, yet also by a determination to learn to read, to be educated, and to run away.

The Narrative of Frederick Douglass Cover

Sample Pages:

National Action Conference for Civil Rights, April 19-20, 1942

Author: Kemnitz, Dr. Thomas Milton (Editor)

Subjects: Civil Rights; American History; African-Americans

Age: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 196X

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

National Action Conference for Civil Rights, April 19-20, 1942 Cover

In April of 1942, one of the most extraordinary gatherings in American history was held in Washington, D.C., by a group of men and women who formed the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties. This was a point at the beginning of World War II when the Germans and Japanese seemed to be triumphant everywhere. The Americans had yet to win a single battle. It was the worst time to speak out for civil rights, and the people who did so were brave and determined to protect the constitutional liberties of the country.

The conference was divided into four sessions: (1) Rights of Franchise, (2) Laborer’s Rights, (3) Discrimination against Racial, National, and Religious Minorities, and (4) Freedom of Speech. The total registration was 159 people from 19 of the 30 states where the National Federation had affiliated organizations. Of those 159, 109 were delegates, and 50 were observers.

The delegates had much to protest: Jim Crow laws, segregation in the armed forces, discrimination on the basis of race and religion, abridgment of the right to organize labor unions and/or to strike, the internment of Americans of Japanese and Italian origin, the imprisonment of members of the American Communist Party, and the limits on free speech in the name of the war effort.

The delegates had a vision of an America that guaranteed to every individual the rights and liberties established in the Constitution. Their vision was the one that ultimately prevailed. Every law that they said was wrong in 1942 has been repealed. Every action that they protested in 1942 the country now regrets. Every right that they said should be established has been established. While we have endorsed their vision, we have forgotten the visionaries. Their fight was overshadowed by the fight on the battlefields that engaged millions of others; their battles pale beside Iwo Jima and Normandy. No monuments have been erected to them, but we owe them a great debt, and they should not be forgotten.

Reprinted in this book are the original conference documents as they were produced in 1941 and 1942. We believe that it is important for youngsters to see the originals, to realize that lofty goals can be pursued with humble tools, that struggle and sacrifice are a part of achievement, and that when belief is strong, “winning” is not necessarily everything.

In April of 1942, one of the most extraordinary gatherings in American history was held in Washington, D.C., by a group of men and women who formed the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties. This was a point at the beginning of World War II when the Germans and Japanese seemed to be triumphant everywhere. The Americans had yet to win a single battle. It was the worst time to speak out for civil rights, and the people who did so were brave and determined to protect the constitutional liberties of the country.

The conference was divided into four sessions: (1) Rights of Franchise, (2) Laborer’s Rights, (3) Discrimination against Racial, National, and Religious Minorities, and (4) Freedom of Speech. The total registration was 159 people from 19 of the 30 states where the National Federation had affiliated organizations. Of those 159, 109 were delegates, and 50 were observers.

The delegates had much to protest: Jim Crow laws, segregation in the armed forces, discrimination on the basis of race and religion, abridgment of the right to organize labor unions and/or to strike, the internment of Americans of Japanese and Italian origin, the imprisonment of members of the American Communist Party, and the limits on free speech in the name of the war effort.

The delegates had a vision of an America that guaranteed to every individual the rights and liberties established in the Constitution. Their vision was the one that ultimately prevailed. Every law that they said was wrong in 1942 has been repealed. Every action that they protested in 1942 the country now regrets. Every right that they said should be established has been established. While we have endorsed their vision, we have forgotten the visionaries. Their fight was overshadowed by the fight on the battlefields that engaged millions of others; their battles pale beside Iwo Jima and Normandy. No monuments have been erected to them, but we owe them a great debt, and they should not be forgotten.

Reprinted in this book are the original conference documents as they were produced in 1941 and 1942. We believe that it is important for youngsters to see the originals, to realize that lofty goals can be pursued with humble tools, that struggle and sacrifice are a part of achievement, and that when belief is strong, “winning” is not necessarily everything.

National Action Conference for Civil Rights, April 19-20, 1942 Cover

Free at Last: The Language of Dr. King's Dream

Author: Thompson, Michael Clay

Subjects: Language Arts; Civil Rights; American History; African-American Issues; King, Dr. Martin Luther

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-0-88092-652-2

Order code: 652X

Price: $17.50
Website price: $13.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Class sets: 25 or more: $10.00 each.
Order code: 652XS

Free at Last: The Language of Dr. King's Dream Cover

Free at Last is the third book of the Self-Evident Truth series by Michael Clay Thompson, which continues his study of the language used in important statements of equality in American history. Free at Last examines Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech, looking at the poetry, grammar, and vocabulary of the most important modern statement of America's commitment to the equality of its citizens.

Free at Last examines how powerful emotion is enhanced by repeated ideas and words. King's vision of the future and great call to freedom were further achieved by carefully chosen vocabulary conjured by metaphor; by the poetics of meter, alliteration, and assonance; and by other carefully selected grammatical devices. The speech is a masterpiece, and this book explores its construction in depth. 

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on August 28, 1963. Its purpose was to draw attention to the injustice of segregation and to push for jobs and economic equality. The statue of Lincoln was chosen as the backdrop for the speeches, and Dr. King began with the words that echoed the beginning of the Gettysburg Address: "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation…but one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free."

Free at Last is the third book of the Self-Evident Truth series by Michael Clay Thompson, which continues his study of the language used in important statements of equality in American history. Free at Last examines Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech, looking at the poetry, grammar, and vocabulary of the most important modern statement of America's commitment to the equality of its citizens.

Free at Last examines how powerful emotion is enhanced by repeated ideas and words. King's vision of the future and great call to freedom were further achieved by carefully chosen vocabulary conjured by metaphor; by the poetics of meter, alliteration, and assonance; and by other carefully selected grammatical devices. The speech is a masterpiece, and this book explores its construction in depth. 

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place on August 28, 1963. Its purpose was to draw attention to the injustice of segregation and to push for jobs and economic equality. The statue of Lincoln was chosen as the backdrop for the speeches, and Dr. King began with the words that echoed the beginning of the Gettysburg Address: "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation…but one hundred years later, the Negro is still not free."

Free at Last: The Language of Dr. King's Dream Cover

Sample Pages:

Free at Last: The Language of Dr. King's Dream, Teacher Manual

Author: Thompson, Michael Clay

ISBN: 978-0-88092-653-9

Order code: 6538

Price: $17.50
Website price: $13.00

Free at Last: The Language of Dr. King's Dream, Teacher Manual Cover

The teacher manual includes the full text of the student book plus special boxes that contain important points and tips for the instructor. The implementation section includes a list of things students can do, a list of study questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy, and helpful suggestions for implementation.

The teacher manual includes the full text of the student book plus special boxes that contain important points and tips for the instructor. The implementation section includes a list of things students can do, a list of study questions based on Bloom's Taxonomy, and helpful suggestions for implementation.

Free at Last: The Language of Dr. King's Dream, Teacher Manual Cover

Sample Pages:

An Issue This Nation Cannot Ignore: Barack Obama's Speech on Race

Author: Kemnitz, Dr. Thomas Milton

Subjects: Language Arts; Civil Rights; American History; African-American Issues

Age: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 9, 10, 11, 12

ISBN: 978-0-89824-648-3

Order code: 6483

Price: $17.50
Website price: $13.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

An Issue This Nation Cannot Ignore: Barack Obama's Speech on Race Cover

President Barack Obama's speech on race, given on the 18th of March, 2008, in Philadelphia, was not just a campaign speech; its theme was an issue that the nation cannot ignore, and it is the contention of this book that the speech is in the tradition of the great American statements of equality that began with the Declaration of Independence and include Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech.

Thomas Milton Kemnitz places Obama's speech in its political and historical context, sees it as part of a national conversation about race, analyzes the six parts of the speech, and breaks down how Obama conveyed his meaning by analyzing the vocabulary, grammar, poetic devices, and structure.

Obama described the issues of anger and bitterness that have led to the present situation. He discussed the common goals and aspirations of white and black communities, as well as the path along which Americans must travel to achieve unity and a better future for all.

This book provides insight not only into Obama as a speechmaker but also into Obama's approach to questions of race, to social and political conditions and problems, and to the way forward for the nation. The speech is distinguished by its adult and nuanced approach to the topics he discussed and by its respect for the intelligence of the voting public. Dr. Kemnitz believes that the speech will resonate and be remembered for many years to come.

This is a worthy addition to the Royal Fireworks Press Self-Evident Truths Series.

View sample pages and read excerpts here: Obama on race, where you can also view excerpts from a talk given by Dr. Kemnitz at Mt. St. Mary College, New York.

President Barack Obama's speech on race, given on the 18th of March, 2008, in Philadelphia, was not just a campaign speech; its theme was an issue that the nation cannot ignore, and it is the contention of this book that the speech is in the tradition of the great American statements of equality that began with the Declaration of Independence and include Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech.

Thomas Milton Kemnitz places Obama's speech in its political and historical context, sees it as part of a national conversation about race, analyzes the six parts of the speech, and breaks down how Obama conveyed his meaning by analyzing the vocabulary, grammar, poetic devices, and structure.

Obama described the issues of anger and bitterness that have led to the present situation. He discussed the common goals and aspirations of white and black communities, as well as the path along which Americans must travel to achieve unity and a better future for all.

This book provides insight not only into Obama as a speechmaker but also into Obama's approach to questions of race, to social and political conditions and problems, and to the way forward for the nation. The speech is distinguished by its adult and nuanced approach to the topics he discussed and by its respect for the intelligence of the voting public. Dr. Kemnitz believes that the speech will resonate and be remembered for many years to come.

This is a worthy addition to the Royal Fireworks Press Self-Evident Truths Series.

View sample pages and read excerpts here: Obama on race, where you can also view excerpts from a talk given by Dr. Kemnitz at Mt. St. Mary College, New York.

An Issue This Nation Cannot Ignore: Barack Obama's Speech on Race Cover

Identifying and Programming for Young Black Gifted Children

Author: Karnes, Dr. Merle S.; Johnson, Dr. Lawrence J.

Subjects: Gifted Education; Professional Resources; Identification of Gifted

Order code: 1995

Price: $19.99
Website price: $15.00

Identifying and Programming for Young Black Gifted Children Cover

This book offers an extensive treatment of key issues, procedures, and programs for gifted African-American students. The first section includes a discussion of key issues in serving young black gifted children, including factors that inhibit the development of programs for this population of children and the rationale for serving them. The second section is focused on procedures: identification methods, curriculum, involving families, and evaluating programming. The third section details an exemplary program. The book also includes sample lessons.

This book offers an extensive treatment of key issues, procedures, and programs for gifted African-American students. The first section includes a discussion of key issues in serving young black gifted children, including factors that inhibit the development of programs for this population of children and the rationale for serving them. The second section is focused on procedures: identification methods, curriculum, involving families, and evaluating programming. The third section details an exemplary program. The book also includes sample lessons.

Identifying and Programming for Young Black Gifted Children Cover

Nubian Elegance Rare and Divine

Subtitle: A Guide for High-Achieving African-American Students

Author: Tukufu, Dr. Darryl S.

Subjects: Gifted Education; Diversity; African-Americans

Age: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 4802

Price: $10.00
Website price: $7.00

Nubian Elegance Rare and Divine Cover

A long-time activist in the Urban League and an experienced educator, Dr. Tukufu has dedicated this guide to “High-Achieving African-American Students, Known and Unknown, and Those Yet to Come.” His call is to the best and brightest African-American students to prepare for future success via academic achievement and incorporation into the economic, social, and racial mainstream of America. Academic success and subsequent leadership on the academic frontier and in the greater American society comes from values and goal-setting, good work habits, and determination early on.

Chapter I is concerned with needs and values and uses Maslow's “Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid as the basis for discussion.

Chapter II is based on Tukufu's African-American Development Model, which includes outreach from the individual to a positive mental attitude, the Nguzo Saba, African/African-American culture and history, social development, social capacity, and spiritual, religious, and philosophical orientation.

Chapter III discusses the results of a questionnaire distributed nationally to a cross-section of African-American high-achievers and potential high-achievers between the ages of 10 and 18. The questionnaire is presented in its entirety, and it is uniquely probing, with such questions as “How should a young black person respond to someone if he or she were told, 'You are trying to be white'?”

Chapter IV presents final thoughts.

An appendix is followed by a list of recommended readings.

A long-time activist in the Urban League and an experienced educator, Dr. Tukufu has dedicated this guide to “High-Achieving African-American Students, Known and Unknown, and Those Yet to Come.” His call is to the best and brightest African-American students to prepare for future success via academic achievement and incorporation into the economic, social, and racial mainstream of America. Academic success and subsequent leadership on the academic frontier and in the greater American society comes from values and goal-setting, good work habits, and determination early on.

Chapter I is concerned with needs and values and uses Maslow's “Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid as the basis for discussion.

Chapter II is based on Tukufu's African-American Development Model, which includes outreach from the individual to a positive mental attitude, the Nguzo Saba, African/African-American culture and history, social development, social capacity, and spiritual, religious, and philosophical orientation.

Chapter III discusses the results of a questionnaire distributed nationally to a cross-section of African-American high-achievers and potential high-achievers between the ages of 10 and 18. The questionnaire is presented in its entirety, and it is uniquely probing, with such questions as “How should a young black person respond to someone if he or she were told, 'You are trying to be white'?”

Chapter IV presents final thoughts.

An appendix is followed by a list of recommended readings.

Nubian Elegance Rare and Divine Cover

Count the Stars Through the Cracks

Author: Hotaling, Billie

Subjects: Slavery; American History; Underground Railroad; African-Americans

Age: 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 7, 8, 9, 10

Order code: 521

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 521S

Count the Stars Through the Cracks Cover

Winner of an Ohio Arts Council Award for Fiction

This is the story of a fifteen-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister who set out with their mother to escape from the plantation where they were born into slavery. Their escape is occasioned by the selling of their father to a slaveholder farther south. During their journey, their mother dies, and Jute and his sister Susu must continue without her as they traverse the Underground Railroad.

Their adventure is terrifying because at any moment they risk being captured and returned to slavery. Their lives are frequently in the hands of whites who were responsible for moving escaped slaves through a series of hiding places to safety in Canada. During their journey, Susu breaks her leg. A doctor hides them until she can recover sufficiently to be moved to the house of a free black family. This family is unusual. The husband is building a mill out of a pattern book, and he employs Jute in that endeavor. The mother teaches Susu to read.

Jute is marked by a fierce pride, a desire to be free, and a desire to make his way in the world. His pride is the driving force behind their escape and the choices he makes on the passage. The $5.00 a month he earns building the mill is a source of considerable pride and satisfaction.

After months of waiting, Susu’s leg is healed, and they take their carefully-saved money to Xenia to buy two railroad tickets to Canada. They find the town in turmoil, and they learn that the Civil War has started—they no longer have to run and hide.

“This simple narrative is a treasure, packed with information and understanding. The writing is unadorned but at the same time beautiful and emotional. Excellent for sixth grade and up. This deserves consideration for Best Books.” – VOYA Magazine

Winner of an Ohio Arts Council Award for Fiction

This is the story of a fifteen-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister who set out with their mother to escape from the plantation where they were born into slavery. Their escape is occasioned by the selling of their father to a slaveholder farther south. During their journey, their mother dies, and Jute and his sister Susu must continue without her as they traverse the Underground Railroad.

Their adventure is terrifying because at any moment they risk being captured and returned to slavery. Their lives are frequently in the hands of whites who were responsible for moving escaped slaves through a series of hiding places to safety in Canada. During their journey, Susu breaks her leg. A doctor hides them until she can recover sufficiently to be moved to the house of a free black family. This family is unusual. The husband is building a mill out of a pattern book, and he employs Jute in that endeavor. The mother teaches Susu to read.

Jute is marked by a fierce pride, a desire to be free, and a desire to make his way in the world. His pride is the driving force behind their escape and the choices he makes on the passage. The $5.00 a month he earns building the mill is a source of considerable pride and satisfaction.

After months of waiting, Susu’s leg is healed, and they take their carefully-saved money to Xenia to buy two railroad tickets to Canada. They find the town in turmoil, and they learn that the Civil War has started—they no longer have to run and hide.

“This simple narrative is a treasure, packed with information and understanding. The writing is unadorned but at the same time beautiful and emotional. Excellent for sixth grade and up. This deserves consideration for Best Books.” – VOYA Magazine

Count the Stars Through the Cracks Cover

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town

Author: Buckley, Anne

Subjects: Romance; American History; African-Americans

Age: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Grade: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Order code: 4586

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4586S

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town Cover

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town was inspired by an overnight visit that Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt made to Lancaster, Texas, in 1936, prior to attending the Texas Centennial. The novel, a work of historical fiction, traces the efforts of a young African-American woman, Olive Johnson, as she moves beyond her station of maid and creates a new life for herself.

Olive is empowered by Mrs. Roosevelt’s words and spirit. She learns about Mrs. Roosevelt by reading her work aloud to her employer, Ethel Wilson, whose untimely death sends Olive to the home of Louise and Bill Andrews as a maid. Abusive treatment from Louise prompts Olive to consider other work. The opening of Madam C.J. Walker’s College of Beauty Culture in Dallas, a school for colored cosmetologists, answers her dreams. After working for the Andrews during the day, Olive commutes to school nightly on the electric trolley (the Interurban). Tuition is a strain, but her mother, Bessie Mae, helps her work it out. A young African-American porter, Lewis Bonner, becomes intrigued with Olive and her determination, and he helps her overcome her apprehension about the big city and school. Usually shy, Olive warms to him. Bessie Mae and Pastor Simpson of the Free Will Baptist Church favorably measure Lewis’s character, and with their approval, romance develops.

Louise Andrews, hating to lose a good maid, tries to derail Olive’s education by loading her down with impossible household chores, but Olive perseveres because she needs the money. Olive’s moments of joy and laughter come from third grader Lily, Louise’s daughter, and Lily’s grandmother Ella. They forge a deep and caring relationship. Events take a tragic turn when Olive’s mother dies in a tornado. Overcome with grief, Olive retreats within herself, rejects Lewis, and finds solace only in her beauty training. She struggles to cope with the devastating change in her life.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s written words echo in Olive’s mind, and when Mrs. Roosevelt finally arrives in town and speaks to the crowd gathered at the strain station, Olive’s inner soul knows that Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech is for her. Mrs. Roosevelt’s words about fear, race, immigrant families, and an individual’s spirit empower Olive. Lewis is the porter on the Roosevelts’ railroad car. Heeding her soul and her inner strength, Olive steps forward to join him and begin her new life.

Author Anne Buckley has been a freelance writer, journalist, and publicist. Winner of the Anita Cole Memorial Scholarship, University of North Texas Centennial Literary Festival, Anne is also an active member of Women in Film/Dallas and the Dallas Screenwriters Association. She resides in Dallas, Texas.

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town was inspired by an overnight visit that Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt made to Lancaster, Texas, in 1936, prior to attending the Texas Centennial. The novel, a work of historical fiction, traces the efforts of a young African-American woman, Olive Johnson, as she moves beyond her station of maid and creates a new life for herself.

Olive is empowered by Mrs. Roosevelt’s words and spirit. She learns about Mrs. Roosevelt by reading her work aloud to her employer, Ethel Wilson, whose untimely death sends Olive to the home of Louise and Bill Andrews as a maid. Abusive treatment from Louise prompts Olive to consider other work. The opening of Madam C.J. Walker’s College of Beauty Culture in Dallas, a school for colored cosmetologists, answers her dreams. After working for the Andrews during the day, Olive commutes to school nightly on the electric trolley (the Interurban). Tuition is a strain, but her mother, Bessie Mae, helps her work it out. A young African-American porter, Lewis Bonner, becomes intrigued with Olive and her determination, and he helps her overcome her apprehension about the big city and school. Usually shy, Olive warms to him. Bessie Mae and Pastor Simpson of the Free Will Baptist Church favorably measure Lewis’s character, and with their approval, romance develops.

Louise Andrews, hating to lose a good maid, tries to derail Olive’s education by loading her down with impossible household chores, but Olive perseveres because she needs the money. Olive’s moments of joy and laughter come from third grader Lily, Louise’s daughter, and Lily’s grandmother Ella. They forge a deep and caring relationship. Events take a tragic turn when Olive’s mother dies in a tornado. Overcome with grief, Olive retreats within herself, rejects Lewis, and finds solace only in her beauty training. She struggles to cope with the devastating change in her life.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s written words echo in Olive’s mind, and when Mrs. Roosevelt finally arrives in town and speaks to the crowd gathered at the strain station, Olive’s inner soul knows that Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech is for her. Mrs. Roosevelt’s words about fear, race, immigrant families, and an individual’s spirit empower Olive. Lewis is the porter on the Roosevelts’ railroad car. Heeding her soul and her inner strength, Olive steps forward to join him and begin her new life.

Author Anne Buckley has been a freelance writer, journalist, and publicist. Winner of the Anita Cole Memorial Scholarship, University of North Texas Centennial Literary Festival, Anne is also an active member of Women in Film/Dallas and the Dallas Screenwriters Association. She resides in Dallas, Texas.

The Day Mrs. Roosevelt Came to Town Cover

Running Against the Wind

Author: Auerbacher, Inge

Subjects: Sports; DeSaussure, Mary and Martha; Historical Biography; African-Americans; Multicultural Friendship

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Order code: 4373

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Class sets: 10 or more: $7.00 each.
Order code: 4373S

Running Against the Wind Cover

“A wonderful story...” – Children’s Literature

Running Against the Wind is a biographical novel of Mary and Martha DeSaussure, the pioneering twin black track stars, against a background of interracial relations as they really were. This is the warm story of their religious home life (Papa was a minister), their “mixed” neighborhood, and their athletic triumphs and heartbreaking defeats. The story tells of the realities of post-WWII racial prejudices, the pride of the girls’ immediate neighborhood, and the vulnerability they learned to feel when they ventured outside of it.

Mary and Martha’s immediate neighbors and shop-owner friends, fixtures in their growing-up years, were a wonderful mix of black, Jewish, Irish, and Italian people. The twins relate personal stories about each, and because they were children, it is striking how many of their remembrances have to do with food or candy. (The girls insisted that their story contain an appendix of the recipes that have become a part of their lives!)

The twins' story is also the story of the Police Athletic League and how the sisters helped to reshape it. The PAL gave them the psychological boost to achieve, to believe. It opened very real doors. And it changed forever for women because of them. The PAL story picks up from the first race that Mary won at the 13th Regiment Armory Regional Track Meet (but received the silver medal because she was black, and the white German favorite got the gold). It includes the successes of “firsts” the twins shared in the first black PAL girls track team in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the first integrated PAL AAU women’s track team in New York City. Their scrapbooks are filled with photos and medals. And the panorama shows the white canvass of female athletes and spectators that first greeted them.

Today, Mary and Martha are leaders in their own interest areas. Both rose in the ranks of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention; VARANA, the Volta Region Association of North America; and the Women’s Africa Committee of the African-American Institute. Mary retired from the Elmhurst Hospital Center as Administrative Executive Secretary to the Director. Martha pursued politics and became the first black administrative secretary in the New York Supreme Court and then the first black legal administrative secretary to work in the Appellate Division. She has been a team with Justice William C. Thompson for more than thirty years.

In 2001, the New York Historical Society chose Mary as one of its heroes for its exhibit titled “Choosing to Participate: Facing History and Ourselves.” The exhibit celebrates the power of the individual to make a difference.

Author Inge Auerbacher has been a close, personal friend of the DeSaussure twins for more than thirty years. This is her third book. I Am a Star chronicled her childhood years in a concentration camp as a Holocaust victim. Her second book, Beyond the Yellow Star to Americapicks up her story at her arrival in New York City in 1945. Inge has won many awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

“A wonderful story...” – Children’s Literature

Running Against the Wind is a biographical novel of Mary and Martha DeSaussure, the pioneering twin black track stars, against a background of interracial relations as they really were. This is the warm story of their religious home life (Papa was a minister), their “mixed” neighborhood, and their athletic triumphs and heartbreaking defeats. The story tells of the realities of post-WWII racial prejudices, the pride of the girls’ immediate neighborhood, and the vulnerability they learned to feel when they ventured outside of it.

Mary and Martha’s immediate neighbors and shop-owner friends, fixtures in their growing-up years, were a wonderful mix of black, Jewish, Irish, and Italian people. The twins relate personal stories about each, and because they were children, it is striking how many of their remembrances have to do with food or candy. (The girls insisted that their story contain an appendix of the recipes that have become a part of their lives!)

The twins' story is also the story of the Police Athletic League and how the sisters helped to reshape it. The PAL gave them the psychological boost to achieve, to believe. It opened very real doors. And it changed forever for women because of them. The PAL story picks up from the first race that Mary won at the 13th Regiment Armory Regional Track Meet (but received the silver medal because she was black, and the white German favorite got the gold). It includes the successes of “firsts” the twins shared in the first black PAL girls track team in Bedford-Stuyvesant and the first integrated PAL AAU women’s track team in New York City. Their scrapbooks are filled with photos and medals. And the panorama shows the white canvass of female athletes and spectators that first greeted them.

Today, Mary and Martha are leaders in their own interest areas. Both rose in the ranks of the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention; VARANA, the Volta Region Association of North America; and the Women’s Africa Committee of the African-American Institute. Mary retired from the Elmhurst Hospital Center as Administrative Executive Secretary to the Director. Martha pursued politics and became the first black administrative secretary in the New York Supreme Court and then the first black legal administrative secretary to work in the Appellate Division. She has been a team with Justice William C. Thompson for more than thirty years.

In 2001, the New York Historical Society chose Mary as one of its heroes for its exhibit titled “Choosing to Participate: Facing History and Ourselves.” The exhibit celebrates the power of the individual to make a difference.

Author Inge Auerbacher has been a close, personal friend of the DeSaussure twins for more than thirty years. This is her third book. I Am a Star chronicled her childhood years in a concentration camp as a Holocaust victim. Her second book, Beyond the Yellow Star to Americapicks up her story at her arrival in New York City in 1945. Inge has won many awards, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Running Against the Wind Cover

Through the Door to Danger

Author: Teper, Shannon

Subjects: American History; Mystery; African-Americans; School Integration

Age: 9, 10, 11, 12

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7

ISBN: 978-0-88092-534-1

Order code: 5341

Price: $14.99
Website price: $10.00

Also an iBook from iTunes

Through the Door to Danger Cover

A mystery with a civil rights focus

A week before classes start, twelve-year-old Craig wanders the empty, echoing halls of historic Shady River School, where his mother teaches. Craig is glad to stumble upon a new friend, a young African-American girl named Luceille, dressed in peculiar, old-fashioned clothes. Discovering that Luceille can vanish as quickly as she appears, Craig follows her through the door of the custodian’s closet and into the year 1968, the first year black and white students attended classes together. Not everyone is happy about desegregation, and Craig is disturbed by the prejudice he witnesses on his visit to the past. In the present, Craig smells smoke where there is no fire and burns his hand on a doorknob that suddenly turns red hot. Unearthing secrets that someone at Shady River has carefully buried, Craig plunges back in time and into danger, desperate to prevent a tragic death. Trapped with Luceille in the heat and smoke of the burning school, Craig discovers that the past is more difficult to change than he ever imagined.

Shannon Teper lives in a beach cottage in Ormond-by-the-Sea, Florida. Her son, Zach, attends art school; her husband, Dave, is a graphic artist and designed the cover of Through the Door to Danger. This is her first novel, but she has had nonfiction articles published in Highlights, Hopscotch, Focus-on-the-Family Clubhouse, Characters, and Dogs for Kids. Her article “Follow that Horse” appeared in Highlights and won a 2004 Magazine Merit Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her article “Winter’s Tail” won Highlight’s Pewter Plate Award in 2010 for Nonfiction Feature of the Year for Beginning Readers. She won first place in the Daytona Beach News Journal’s Scary Story Contest in 2006 and has worked as editor of PetLovers Magazine. She is a teacher with a degree in elementary education from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.

Shannon Teper says that she has been writing since she could hold a crayon. She says, “I love the mystery genre and read mysteries constantly, so I decided to write a mystery book of my own. I was inspired to write Through the Door to Danger when I visited the historic school board building converted from a school in my hometown. I was there in the summer to fill out teacher paperwork and virtually all alone in the echoing hallways. They seemed full of ghosts, and I began to wonder what ghosts might be haunting the halls and what events might have happened in the past to cause them to linger in the spooky old building. My imagination took off.”

Reviews:

"It is one of those books where you can't guess the ending, whereas some books you know the ending right from the beginning. A very good book!" – Rosie Semlyen, age 12

"This is a really well written mystery about the evolution of race relations. Very vivid. Lots of feeling. I'd recommend it to any kid who likes mysteries mixed with a little time travel." Ann Alexander

"I think it is a great children’s book. I teach fourth and fifth grade, and I read the book with my students in mind. I may use the book as a read-aloud in February as part of our focus on black history. As a teacher I can see many ways I can use this book to generate discussions around Brown v. the Board of Education, civil rights, and discrimination with my students. I will definitely be adding the book to my classroom library and recommending it to students. I enjoyed the way the author combined mystery and time travel to give a glimpse of what it was like to be a student during desegregation." – Kimberly L. Layden

"Through the Door to Danger is a perfect read. It was hard for me to put down, and I found myself up a few nights way past midnight! I enjoyed Mrs. Teper's style. I was bummed when the story ended because I enjoyed it so much." – Heidi Wright

Also by Shannon Teper: Danger at Dolphin World, a mystery about dolphins, villains, and relationships in an unconventional family

A mystery with a civil rights focus

A week before classes start, twelve-year-old Craig wanders the empty, echoing halls of historic Shady River School, where his mother teaches. Craig is glad to stumble upon a new friend, a young African-American girl named Luceille, dressed in peculiar, old-fashioned clothes. Discovering that Luceille can vanish as quickly as she appears, Craig follows her through the door of the custodian’s closet and into the year 1968, the first year black and white students attended classes together. Not everyone is happy about desegregation, and Craig is disturbed by the prejudice he witnesses on his visit to the past. In the present, Craig smells smoke where there is no fire and burns his hand on a doorknob that suddenly turns red hot. Unearthing secrets that someone at Shady River has carefully buried, Craig plunges back in time and into danger, desperate to prevent a tragic death. Trapped with Luceille in the heat and smoke of the burning school, Craig discovers that the past is more difficult to change than he ever imagined.

Shannon Teper lives in a beach cottage in Ormond-by-the-Sea, Florida. Her son, Zach, attends art school; her husband, Dave, is a graphic artist and designed the cover of Through the Door to Danger. This is her first novel, but she has had nonfiction articles published in HighlightsHopscotchFocus-on-the-Family ClubhouseCharacters, and Dogs for Kids. Her article “Follow that Horse” appeared in Highlights and won a 2004 Magazine Merit Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her article “Winter’s Tail” won Highlight’s Pewter Plate Award in 2010 for Nonfiction Feature of the Year for Beginning Readers. She won first place in the Daytona Beach News Journal’s Scary Story Contest in 2006 and has worked as editor of PetLovers Magazine. She is a teacher with a degree in elementary education from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.

Shannon Teper says that she has been writing since she could hold a crayon. She says, “I love the mystery genre and read mysteries constantly, so I decided to write a mystery book of my own. I was inspired to write Through the Door to Danger when I visited the historic school board building converted from a school in my hometown. I was there in the summer to fill out teacher paperwork and virtually all alone in the echoing hallways. They seemed full of ghosts, and I began to wonder what ghosts might be haunting the halls and what events might have happened in the past to cause them to linger in the spooky old building. My imagination took off.”

Reviews:

"It is one of those books where you can't guess the ending, whereas some books you know the ending right from the beginning. A very good book!" – Rosie Semlyen, age 12

"This is a really well written mystery about the evolution of race relations. Very vivid. Lots of feeling. I'd recommend it to any kid who likes mysteries mixed with a little time travel."  Ann Alexander

"I think it is a great children’s book. I teach fourth and fifth grade, and I read the book with my students in mind. I may use the book as a read-aloud in February as part of our focus on black history. As a teacher I can see many ways I can use this book to generate discussions around Brown v. the Board of Education, civil rights, and discrimination with my students. I will definitely be adding the book to my classroom library and recommending it to students. I enjoyed the way the author combined mystery and time travel to give a glimpse of what it was like to be a student during desegregation." – Kimberly L. Layden

"Through the Door to Danger is a perfect read. It was hard for me to put down, and I found myself up a few nights way past midnight! I enjoyed Mrs. Teper's style. I was bummed when the story ended because I enjoyed it so much." – Heidi Wright

Also by Shannon Teper: Danger at Dolphin World, a mystery about dolphins, villains, and relationships in an unconventional family

Through the Door to Danger Cover

Through the Door to Danger pages 1-20:

Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Time to Lynch a Negro

Author: Bell, Eddie

Subjects: American History; Lynching; African-Americans; Race Relations; Short Stories

ISBN: 978-0-088092-7673

Order code: 7673

Price: $14.99
Website price: $13.00

Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Time to Lynch a Negro Cover

Though rarely talked about, just a few short years ago and still in the memories of the older generation, African-Americans were lynched. For whites, black life was cheap and expendable and could be taken summarily without consequence. Through the fictional lives of everyday people—including perpetrators, victims, and bystanders—this volume of poetry, prose, and short stories helps define the truth about lynching. The writings refrain from dwelling too heavily on the grotesque and inhumane acts of torture and death, but they do not shy away from the personal passions and the real consequences that accompanied these acts of hate.

The author writes: "It is critical that public discourse on race include all aspects of black and white cultural underpinnings.... I have great hope that this book will be a catalyst to learn more about each of our stories and will encourage us to apply what we learn to our efforts to form a more perfect union."

Eddie Bell is a retired faculty member of the State University of New York, a photographer, a writer, a poet, and an ordained deacon.

Though rarely talked about, just a few short years ago and still in the memories of the older generation, African-Americans were lynched. For whites, black life was cheap and expendable and could be taken summarily without consequence. Through the fictional lives of everyday people—including perpetrators, victims, and bystanders—this volume of poetry, prose, and short stories helps define the truth about lynching. The writings refrain from dwelling too heavily on the grotesque and inhumane acts of torture and death, but they do not shy away from the personal passions and the real consequences that accompanied these acts of hate.

The author writes: "It is critical that public discourse on race include all aspects of black and white cultural underpinnings.... I have great hope that this book will be a catalyst to learn more about each of our stories and will encourage us to apply what we learn to our efforts to form a more perfect union."

Eddie Bell is a retired faculty member of the State University of New York, a photographer, a writer, a poet, and an ordained deacon.

Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Time to Lynch a Negro Cover

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