Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Taylor, Mildred D.
New York : Dial Books, 1990.
IL 3-6 RL 5.9
ISBN 0553159925

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

On a rainy day in the 1930's, Jeremy Simms, a young white boy, sits at a bus stop and watches the world around him. He sees the everyday life in Depression era Mississippi. He witnesses the unfair treatment of African Americans. When the bus finally arrives, Jeremy watches as the African Americans are forced to take seats at the back of the bus. When a white family arrives, the African Americans are told to get off the bus to make room for the new arrivals. Find out how this fateful trip turns out.

Booktalk #2

Whenever I watch the news lately I hear more and more about hard economic times. Month after month, more people are losing their jobs. Maybe even at your home money is tighter now.

The book Mississippi Bridge is set in our country when the economy was at its worst, almost a hundred years ago during the Great Depression. Cotton prices have gone from 12 cents a pound, down to 5 cents a pound. People can't afford to pay workers any longer. To make matters worse, the spring rains won't quit, so farmers can't even get into the fields to plant.

This book would be especially interesting for upper elementary age students. Not only is it a story about tough times with money, but also tough times for black people, before our country had civil rights for all. It's a story about a bus, and black people being asked to give up their seatsóbut it's not the familiar story of Rosa Parks who rode a bus that changed history in the 1960s. Mississippi Bridge is a fiction story about a bus ride in the 1930s, a bus ride over a flooded bridge that ended in tragedy.
So, what happened when the bus went over the flooded bridge? In this brief book of just 64 pages, you can find out.   (Denise Krebs,, teacher)

SUBJECTS:     Race relations  -- Fiction
                        African Americans  -- Fiction
                        Prejudices  -- Fiction
                        Southern States -- Race relations  -- Fiction


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