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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 9 months, 2 weeks ago

12 May 2019 BUSING BREWSTER by Richard Michelson and R.G. Roth, ill., David R. Godine reprint edition, May 2019, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-56792-649-5


“It's been nearly 65 years since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka decision, and yet American schools remain deeply segregated.

In fact, researchers at the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, say the nation's K-12 public schools have become doubly segregated for large numbers of black and brown students, many of whom attend schools where the majority of their peers are also brown, black, and poor.

Despite research showing the benefits of attending schools with diverse student bodies, integration proposals have often been met with acrimonious backlash and fierce pushback, even in ostensibly liberal havens such as New York City, where just last year a firestorm erupted on Manhattan's Upper West Side in response to a diversity initiative. And there is still rancorous disagreement about how to increase the number of black and Hispanic students in the city's prized specialized high schools.”

-- Education Week, “Is There a Path to Desegregated Schools?” (1/8/19)


“There’s two policemen standing at the Central door, but inside is the whitest hall I ever saw.

There are brand-new shiny lockers lining one whole wall. There’s even a water fountain and it’s making me thirsty.

I’m drinking when somebody shoves me from behind. ‘Wish your kind all stayed at Franklin,’ he says.”


In deciding where to live, parents have long been motivated by the desire to secure high-quality schools for their children. But persistent racial discrimination in housing and lending, coupled with other racist economic inequalities, continue to block millions of black American families from having equal access to the American dream. Last year was the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, which has never been enforced to the degree necessary to eliminate racial discrimination in housing and overcome the dark legacy of government-sanctioned redlining and lending discrimination.


I continue to hold out hope that we will find the solution to providing all Americans with equal educational opportunities amidst diverse school populations.


Mandatory school busing for racial integration was a controversial policy in the 1970s that, some argue, drove many white families away from city school systems. BUSING BREWSTER, first published by Knopf in 2010, is a distinguished picturebook story about a fictional black child who is bused across the city to attend first grade in an all-white school.


We see the trepidation with which Brewster’s big brother approaches the change of schools and how he seeks to protect Brewster from racial hatred. I love how, at the conclusion of the story, we see clearly that the freckle-faced kid who is unkind to Brewster had been mimicking his racist father. It is important for children to learn that parents can be wrong and that children don’t necessarily need to embrace or accept their parents unenlightened opinions and prejudices.


I also love the wonderful school librarian at Central who helps make Brewster feel at home and has him believing that he’s capable of achieving any goat to which he aspires--even President.


The independent publisher David R. Godine is reissuing BUSING BREWSTER, both in hardcover and paperback. It’s a great story that’s as valuable and timely today as it was a decade ago.

Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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