This is the Dream

Author: Diane Z. Shore & Jessica Alexander
Illustrator: James Ransome
Published: Harper Collins 2009
Pages: 40
Tags: Jamal Jackson, Historical Fiction, Family, Culture, Diversity, Juvenile Fiction, k-5,Diane Z. Shore, Jessica Alexander, Award Winning
Genre: Historical Fiction

The story is about the Civil Rights movement. The story is told in poertry form and starts during times of segregation and Jim Crow. The story progresses softly, covering the leaders and actions that helped to change society and finishes with examples of a diverse and intermixed society.
The dream that the title is referring to is the dream mentioned in Dr. Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech. The book serves as a window and educational material for children learning about the civil rights movement and the progress of society. The author communicates through the text alone that times were different and has improved to reach the dream of equality. It briefly glosses over topics like separate water fountains, libraries and bus privileges. The texts also include the various heroes and actions that lead to the change required. The use of the illustrations is what really adds to the emotion of the text.
The use of illustrations allow for the message to be communicated more clearly. For example the words alone may not show the differences in schooling and resources in the library. By juxtaposing the images of the two communities, the illustrator shows how inaccurate separate but equal really was. The use of real images of people’s faces from the time in the margins also shows the climate surrounding the issues and actions of the brave activists. The faces around the boarders when the sit ins were happening and the faces in the crowd when the black students entered the white school both add emotion to the story. Through the faces you are able to feel the anger during the time. The illustrations toward the end also help to show how much better the times are. The depiction of diverse groups of people all being happy towards the end suggests that the time we live in now is truly the dream those activists had for society. Overall the illustrations play a huge part in communicating the problems and improvements in society during the time and now.

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