“These Hands” by Margaret H. Mason

these hands

I’m a firm believer in sharing black history stories through the year, not just during Black History Month. This lovely picture book is appropriate for sharing during any discussion and/or lesson about the Civil Rights era. Joseph is a young child whose “Grandpa” could do anything with his hands. Many children can relate to a favorite grandfather or elderly relative who seems invincible. Then the story slides into something Grandpa couldn’t do. When Grandpa worked at the Wonder Bread factory, he could not mix bread dough. Only white people could work with the bread dough. Blacks were limited to sweeping the floors, working the line, loading the trucks. Then Grandpa’s hands joined other hands and protested. Finally change happened.

Through illustrations, we see Joseph growing up and become adept at doing many things with his hands. Grandpa is proud to let Joseph know that he can do anything at all in this whole wide world with his hands.

Most appropriate for second and third graders, but can be used with older students when covering the Civil Rights era. Not all civil rights happened in the south. This story involved northern unions and the fight for equal rights.  

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