We’ve Got a Job: Book Review

February 25th, 2012 by

weve-got-a-job-cynthia-levinson-book-reviewLast month, I posted about the civil rights movement in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I mentioned sit-ins to protest segregated restaurants, and I shared trailers for books about church bombings and school integration. But there’s one thing I didn’t talk about at all: the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, when 4,000 black elementary, middle, and high school students chose to be jailed as part of the fight for civil rights.

Pretty incredible, right? But even more incredible in my opinion — I don’t remember ever hearing about this before! Now that I know about it, I feel like this amazing story should be shared with everyone… so thank goodness for We’ve Got a Job by Cynthia Levinson! The book traces the build-up to the march, the crazy events during the days of student protest, the kids’ experience in overcrowded jails, and the aftermath of the movement through the eyes of four students who took part in it all.

If you’ve got an assignment for Black History Month, this is the perfect book for you. It’s full of photos, direct quotes from people who were there, and alternating viewpoints to show everything that was going on at the time. But also, it’s really truly fascinating! Here’s a taste, from the very beginning of the book:

On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, there was something important she had to do.

“I want to go to jail,” Audrey had told her mother.

Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready. Her father had even bought her a new game she’d been eyeing. Audrey imagined that it would entertain her if she got bored during her week on a cell block.

That morning, her mother took her to Center Street Elementary so she could tell her third-grade teacher why she’d be absent. Mrs. Wills cried. Audrey knew she was proud of her.

She also hugged all four grandparents goodbye.

One of her grandmothers assured her, “You’ll be fine.”

Then Audrey’s parents drove her to church to get arrested.

What the wha?! Can you even imagine getting ready to do something like that? It makes for a totally gripping read — kind of a cross between a textbook and a suspense novel!

Of course, if you want an actual novel to read after We’ve Got a Job, then don’t forget Nancy’s recommendation for Black History Month: Gabriel’s Horses by Alison Hart. Or if you have your own favorite book on the topic, leave a comment and tell us about it!

— Karen

Karen used to avoid nonfiction, until she realized how awesome it can be! Her favorite kind of nonfiction is crazy factoid books.

More about Karen »

Review copy of Gabriel’s Horses provided by the publisher.

Kidsmomo Podcast #42: “I Have a Dream”

February 22nd, 2011 by

From the Underground Railroad to the Great Depression to the civil rights movement of the 1960s — we’re traveling through time in our latest podcast, in honor of Black History Month. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Kidsmomo podcast without a couple detours along the way too…

    Listen now: 

    Download the MP3 (4.6 MB)

  • “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our Black History Month picks (One Crazy Summer and Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman)
  • A review from YOU (Fiery Vision: The Life and Death of John Brown)
  • A Groundhog Day report (yes, you read that right)

Also, don‘t forget: our new theme is books told from multiple points of view! So send us a review of your favorite book told from alternating perspectives our picks for books with One Story, Multiple Narrators.

— Karen and Nancy

Book Trailer: Bud, Not Buddy

February 16th, 2011 by

This book trailer for Bud, Not Buddy was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Black History Month theme. For more on Bud, Not Buddy, check out our “I Have a Dream” podcast.

The Great Depression wasn’t great for anyone, but it was really bad for Bud Caldwell. He’s the star of Christopher Paul Curtis’ Bud, Not Buddy. After the death of his mother, Bud moved from one terrible foster home to another… until the day he decided enough was enough — and set off in search of his father.

Books for Black History Month

February 8th, 2011 by

Slavery. Sharecropping. Civil rights. Broken barriers. Marvelous music. Timeless tales. Emancipation, integration, and celebration. February is Black History Month — and what a long and storied history it is! Check out some of those stories in our Black History Month booklist (in no particular order):


  1. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (Karen’s pick)
  2. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  3. The People Could Fly written by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Diane Dillon and Leo Dillon
  4. Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon
  5. Witness by Karen Hesse
  6. True North: A Novel of the Underground Railroad by Kathryn Lasky
  7. The Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes
  8. Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
  9. Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue by Julius Lester
  10. The Land by Mildred D. Taylor
  11. A Friendship For Today by Patricia C. McKissack
  12. Sounder by William H. Armstrong
  13. Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine
  14. Meet Addy (American Girl series) by Connie Porter


  1. Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling (Nancy’s pick)
  2. Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks
  3. Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By by Sharon Robinson
  4. Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers
  5. Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
  6. Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison
  7. Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader and Nancy Harrison
  8. Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I A Woman by Patricia C. McKissack

If you’ve read any of these, send in your book review. Or send in a review of your favorite book in honor of Black History Month.

UPDATE 2/22/11: We revealed the answer to our One Story, Multiple Narrators Mystery Book Theater in the “I Have a Dream” Podcast, so take a listen if you want to know the answer. Or just tune in if you want to hear our version of a weather report. No, really!