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Multicultural Literature
Goin' Someplace Special
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Yangsook Choi: Biography
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Yangsook Choi: Book Analysis
The Thief Lord
This Same Sky
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
The Eleventh Hour: Curious Mystery
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry
M.C. Higgins, the Great
Goin' Someplace Special
Locomotion
Too Many Tamales
Pablo Remembers
My Name is Maria Isabel
Pablo's Tree
The Great Ball Game
Buffalo Woman
Morning Girl
The Mud Pony: A Traditional Skidi Pawnee Tale
Jingle Dancer
The Name Jar
Tree of Cranes
Good Luck Gold: And Other Poems
The Magic Paintbrush
Habibi
Ella Enchanted
Silent Lotus
Real Heroes

McKissack, Patricia C.  2001.  Goin' someplace special.   Illustrated by 
     Jerry Pinkney.  New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.  ISBN:
     0689818858. 

 

As an African-American growing up in Nashville, TN, in the 1950's, Tricia Ann has not ventured outside her small community alone.  When she asks permission to go by herself to 'Someplace Special', Mama Frances hesitates but gives in reminding Tricia Ann to "hold yo head up and act like you b'long to somebody".

          Her journey downtown reveals the segregation and racial inequality pervasive in everyday lives of African-Americans.  Tricia Ann is forced to sit in the "Colored Section" on the bus and she hops up from a park bench when she notices the "Whites Only" sign.  She endures anger and public glare when she inadvertently steps into the lobby of a grand hotel.  She arrives at her special destination, dignity intact.  Carved in stone above the doorway are the words, "The Public Library: All Are Welcome".

          Mr. Pinkney's powerful, full page, watercolor and pencil illustrations are integral to understanding the emotions running through this beautiful picture book.  The reader glimpses intimidation, pride, and finally determination on Tricia Anns' face as she faces the injustice of racism.  The anger on the white faces as the little girl is caught in the hotel lobby and the look of entitlement on the faces of the white bus riders, gives a sense of what this must have felt like to be black at that time and place.  Fin-tailed vehicles and clothing add to the 50's scenario.

          At the end of the story, the author notes that this is her story, having grown up in Nashville.  She has painted a picture of everyday bigotry surrounding African-Americans in 1950 Tennessee.  McKissack says she "had been fortified with enough love, respect, and pride to overcome any situation I encountered".  Through story, believable dialog,  and illustration, this book conveys a realistic picture of what blacks endured in the not so distant past.  The reader is left with an uplifting message, to hold ones head up and "just keep walking straight ahead-and you'll make it".