Going North

by Janice N. Harrington and Jerome Lagarrigue

In Janice Harrington’s debut picture book, a young African American girl describes... read more

In Janice Harrington’s debut picture book, a young African American girl describes her family’s move from the South to the North in their “banana bright” yellow car. Jessie doesn’t want to leave Big Mama and the rest of her family in Alabama, but she has no choice. She chronicles the journey—including tense minutes when her daddy drives “knuckle-tight” watching for a Negro gas station where they can safely fill their almost-empty gas tank. And she begins to wonder if there may be possibilities she hadn’t considered. “Maybe the North will be better.” By the time they arrive in Lincoln, Nebraska, Jessie has embraced a new outlook: “Daddy, Mama, / Brother, Baby Sister, and me, / all pioneers, all looking out, / hearing a heart-drum / be brave / be brave / Be brave. / We’re together. / Pioneers.” Harrington based her story—which reads like a narrative poem with its graceful use of language, imagery and rhythm—on her own childhood move in 1964. (Ages 6–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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