Goin' Someplace Special

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Goin' Someplace Special Book Poster Image
Gentle story about facing prejudice with pride and strength.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Grandmother teaches her granddaughter that she is "somebody" no matter how unfairly other people treat her. Another older woman helps her in the garden when she is feeling overwhelmed by discrimination. When she reads signs that tell her to sit in back, or not to sit at all, older people tell her that those signs can tell her where to sit but not what to think.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book speaks clearly to kids about the pride of growing up, the fear and sadness of facing prejudice, and the comfort of finding safe, special places in this world, like libraries.

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What's the story?

In Nashville, during the 50s, Tricia Ann, a young African-American girl, eagerly sets off on her own for the first time, going across town to what she calls "someplace special." The prejudice and discrimination she meets along the way deflates her hopeful spirit somewhat, but her grandmother's words and the promise of the public library where "all are welcome" help her handle the hurt, and make it to her destination.

Is it any good?

The text and artwork here works beautifully together to tell a straightforward story with emotional depth and a strong message. As Trisha Ann sets off toward her "someplace special," words describe her hopes and excitement, and the light in her face tells just how true it is. As she faces one slight after another, her expression changes just enough, her shoulders slump a bit, and the reader knows just what she is feeling, even before the words explain.

Because kids will know just how Trisha Ann is feeling, they will begin to understand just how hurtful discrimination can be, and how wonderful it is that we have safe places, like libraries, where everyone is welcome. This would be a great book for beginning a discussion of Jim Crow laws, and how and why they changed. For further discussion about civil rights, readers should check out the other books that have received Coretta Scott King awards.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how proud the girl feels as she goes off on her own for the first time. What makes her feel that she is ready? What lessons has she already learned? What does she do to prepare? Where do you think she is going? Then, they could discuss the experiences she has along the way, and how they made her feel. Why did she have to go to the back of the bus? Why couldn't she sit on the park bench? How did she feel when she got to the library? Why did she call it "someplace special"? Where do you go when you want to feel safe?

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