4 years and up
- Black Culture & Identity
- Historical Figures
Keila V. Dawson & Alleanna Harris
Summary: First of all, this book is beautifully made. I love the matte book jacket, and the surprise underneath it!
Opening the Road not only tells of the events that precipitated the development of the Green Book, but also gives the historical knowledge and significance of the need for it in the first place. Victor Hugo Green was a mail carrier, and one day saw a newspaper that talked about the safe places that Jewish people could count on when they traveled. Victor thought about how when he and many other Black Americans traveled, they often had to drive all night and avoid Sundown Towns.
Inspired by the newspaper, Victor began asking folks that he delivered mail to where they were welcomed. At night, he pieced the information together to make the first Green Book. The Green Book was an instant success! Finally, Black families had lists of places to trust. It also listed Black-owned businesses, and allowed families to rent out spare rooms when hotels weren’t around.
In the back of the book is an author’s note with more information about Victor, who died in 1960. There is also a timeline of events, and a bibliography. I’m thrilled that this book can bring the history of the Green Book to young readers today in a developmentally appropriate way. The Green Book is an incredibly important piece of Black History, and illustrator Alleanna Harris does a brilliant job bringing the story to life.
This book was kindly sent by Beaming Books, and was offered to me by the author. I couldn’t be more thrilled to review it. All opinions and decision to review is my own!
Keila V. Dawson is a former community organizer, educational consultant and advocate for children with special needs. A New Orleans native, she has also lived and worked in several states across the U.S., in the Philippines, Japan, and Egypt. Keila is a co-editor of No Voice Too Small (Charlesbridge, September 22, 2020), author of The King Cake Baby (Pelican Pub, January 23, 2015), and the forthcoming Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book, (Beaming Books, January 26, 2021).
From her website: “Hi! My name is Alleanna. I’m an illustrator and artist from Willingboro, New Jersey. Find out more about me here.
I’m mainly inspired by the beauty in everyday things. My favorite artists are listed here.