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Going North

An African American family becomes a new kind of pioneer.

Leaving behind Big Mama, loving relatives, and the familiar red soil and cotton fields of Alabama, Jessie and her family are going north to Nebraska. They are pioneers searching for a better life, one with decent schools and jobs. But traveling through the segregated South is difficult for an African American family in the 1960s. With most public places reserved for "whites only," where will they stop to get gas and food?

Lyrical free verse and evocative paintings capture the rhythm of the road and a young girl's longing as she wonders: Will I like it there? Will I like the North?


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"Harrington brings close the stark realities blacks faced in the segregated South ("Can't stop anywhere. / Only the Negro stations, / only the Negro stores") as well as Jessie's growing excitement as she considers what's ahead: "listening to the tires / make a road-drum, a road-beat: / good luck / good luck / good luck." Lagarrigue's paintings beautifully capture the family scenes in the car and the endless, shifting landscape from the window in soft-edged, thickly brushed strokes that heighten the emotions in Jesse's words--the nostalgia, the worry, and the bittersweet hope about a promising new place." -- Booklist

Product Details

Recommended Age 5 - 9
Author Janice N. Harrington, Jerome Lagarrigue
ISBN 0374326819
Publication Date Sep 8, 2004
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Language English