Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Coretta Scott

Shange, Ntozake (Author)
Nelson, Kadir (Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2011. 32 pages
First published: 2009
ISBN: 9780061253669 (paperback)
9780061253645 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 323
Book type: Non-Fiction
Book genre: Biography

Text Elements:

figurative language

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

In this poem-biography, scenes from the life and work of Coretta Scott (later, Mrs. Martin Luther King, Jr.) are conveyed with impressionist language and realist painting.

Readers will journey from Coretta’s childhood (“ . . . five miles to/the nearest colored school/in the darkness”) to the massive March on Washington of 1963 that mobilized Black Americans from all over America. They’ll read about Coretta’s religious commitment and her faith in non-violent tactics for change.

Combining poetry and history, with phrases such as “funnel of dust” and “rich soil/where slaves sought freedom,” this book creates opportunities for discussion on both language and the Civil Rights Movement. An author’s note provides further information about Coretta Scott King’s life work.

The illustrations are tactile: smooth, rich and radiant, they’ll absorb readers into their strong compositions and exquisite surfaces. In one of many gorgeous spreads, life-size profiles of Coretta and her husband Martin are shown in prayer, against the contrasting backdrop of a stained glass window. In another, a crowd marches toward the reader, each face beautifully unique.

This is good book for launching interest in Black history and civil rights—and a fine example of artistry in storytelling of any kind.

  •  

    As a group, make a web of your knowledge about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Revise and add to the web as you read.

  •  

    Close your eyes and listen as the text is read aloud. Describe what you visualize when you hear the verses of poetry. What is the purpose of poetic non-fiction?

  •  

    Use the biography (last page) to make a timeline of events in Scott’s life.

  •  

    Research civil rights movements in Canada. Use a graphic organizer to illustrate the connections between events in Canada and those in the US.

  •  

    As a group, make a web of your knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Add to and revise your thinking as you read.

  •  

    Research the people and places cited in the poem. Add relevant information to the class web.

  •  

    Use the biography (last page) to make a timeline of events in Scott’s life.

  •  

    Research civil rights movements in Canada. With a partner or small group, use a graphic organizer to illustrate the connections between events in Canada and those in the US.

  •  

    What do you already know about the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.? Do further research to better understand the context of the story.

  •  

    Have you ever been in a situation where you were treated unfairly? How did you feel? How did you react? (Core) What can we do to ensure that all people are treated fairly and equally? (EESL) Discuss these questions in small groups.

  •  

    Write the American President a letter describing why this book is important. Explain what you think all Americans, or all people, could learn through reading this book.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship