Goin’ Someplace Special

Summary: Goin’ Someplace Special is a picture book written by Patricia Mckissak and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. It tells the story of young ‘Tricia Ann, as she asks permission to go to her favorite place in the whole word, “someplace special.” As she journeys in downtown Nashville in the 1950s, she is confronted by hatred and Jim Crow laws all around her. But wise words keep her going to her favorite place, the public library.

Cultural Markers: Author Patricia Mckissack and illustrator Jerry Pinkney are known for their books on African American culture, and this book is no different. For starters, we have the beautiful illustrations by Jerry Pinkey. He gives our protagonist a dark and wonderfully water colored skin color that is not overly exaggerated or too light, it is just right. As is our protagonist hair and clothing style. Very fitted to not only the era, but her culture as well. Next, we have the dialect spoken by ‘Tricia Ann and her grandmother. She refers to her grandmother as “Mama Francis,” something you see a lot of in African American culture. However, Tricia Ann seems to speak less traditionally than her grandmother. For example, when asking permission to leave, ‘Tricia Ann says, “so you are saying I can go?” with no distinct dialect. Her grandmother responds with, ” I reckon, but you best hurry on ‘fore I change my mind.” Mama Francis seems to have a stronger traditional dialect than her granddaughter. The general environment is one giant cultural marker. The story is set in the 1950s and Jim Crow laws are all abound. ‘Tricia Ann must sit at the back of the bus, people say rude things about her, and she is constantly segregated everywhere she goes. This book depicts what it was like for African Americans back then pretty well for a children’s book.

Awards: Correta Scott King Award for Illustrators.

Personal Reflection: I honestly was not expecting so much from a children’s illustrated story. You see many kinds of books out there with a similar theme like this one, but this one seems to hit it out of the park with such amazing and accurate cultural markers. I feel like this is a must read story to any classroom. What is even better, is that it is fit for almost all ages.

Review Excerpts:

Amazon.com Review: Confronted with the indignities and humiliations of segregated Nashville in the 1950s, young ‘Tricia Ann holds her head high and remembers that she is “somebody, a human being–no better, no worse than anybody else in this world.”

From Publishers Weekly:  “Pinkney’s (previously paired with McKissack for Mirandy and Brother Wind) luminescent watercolors evoke the ’50s, from fashions to finned cars, and he captures every ounce of ‘Tricia Ann’s eagerness, humiliation and quiet triumph at the end. Ages 4-8.

Similar Books: https://www.goodreads.com/book/similar/2341025-goin-someplace-special

Lesson Plans: https://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?tid=2733

McKissack, P., & Pinkney, J. (2001). Goin’ someplace special. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 1416927352



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