Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Pink and Say

Polacco, Patricia (Author/Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 1994. 48 pages
First published: 1994
ISBN: 9780399226717 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, setting

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:

This creative non-fiction picture book gives a moving account of friendship between two boy soldiers, separated from their respective troops, during the American Civil War. Pink wishes to rejoin the “Forty-eighth Colored;” Say has never seen a black person before.

Told in Say’s voice, the language mimics speech of an earlier time: “‘I ‘spect you’re my family now.’ ‘Near ‘nuff, Say. Near ‘nuff.’” Shadows of slavery and war are cast over the friendship. Pink’s mother hides them in her plantation shack, while Say recovers from his wound.

Loose, confident drawings are filled with watercolour and marker effects. A dotted dress and patchwork quilt mingle, as Say receives the warmth of a mother’s hug. Back on the road, the boys are quickly captured by Confederates. The book’s painful message about racism is driven home by the very different treatment the boys receive.

A powerful epilogue offers historical background. Guaranteed to inspire questions and further research among confident readers, or when read aloud.

  •  

    Discuss the themes behind the story and what the author was trying to say. How does the author’s style, specifically the use of dialogue, help or hinder your understanding and appreciation of the book?

  •  

    Write a response after discussing the book with classmates.

  •  

    Before reading the book, make a presentation to the class on the American civil war.

  •  

    Conduct research about black troops in the American civil war. Compare how they were trained and equipped vs. the white troops.

  •  

    Discuss the key events in the story. What is the message of the story? 

  •  

    Create a list of qualities for each of the main characters in the story. Find examples in the story that illustrate the qualities. 

  •  

    Write a journal entry from the point of view of either Pink or Say. Write about the time spent at Moe Bay’s home.

  •  Using teacher-selected websites, research background information on the American Civil War.
  •  Choose a page with interesting dialogue. Read it aloud with a partner and discuss the meaning. Rewrite the dialogue in your own words.
  •  Select several quotes from the book and do a fact check. For example, “Boy, when you owned, you ain’t got no name of your own.” Produce fact cards with your findings and sources. Discuss and display your cards.
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship