Written by: Dee Romito
Illustrated by: Laura Freeman
For ages: 5-9 years
Topics Covered: Modern Black Freedom Struggle, Segregation, Historical Figures, Historical Narratives, POC-Centric Narratives, Black Culture & Identity, Activism, Community Organizing.
Summary: Georgia Gilmore is both a mother of 6 and a cook at a lunch counter during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She is inspired to do more fundraising for the boycott, and for the community organizing and activism surrounding segregation. Georgia spearheaded efforts of local women who cooked secretly in their homes and then sold it to others in the local community. The profits were then used in the fundraising efforts and donated to the cause. Georgia operated under the utmost secrecy and through her efforts she was able to donate huge amounts of money, always saying that “it came from nowhere” in order to not implicate herself or anyone else. However, when her job finds out she’s involved with the organization efforts, she is fired. MLK Jr. helps Georgia update her kitchen and open a home restaurant, where she is able to continue the fundraising and hold meetings for key Civil Rights leaders!
Georgia Gilmore is a lovely example of how a person can partake in solid on the ground organization efforts and create incredible ripples of change throughout a community. So many organizers and activists have been erased from retellings in favor of uplifting a few key individuals in a simplified narrative. Having these stories told showcase how intricate community efforts are, and how everyone can become involved in making change. This is a crucial message to get across in times of political and social change, we have much to learn now about the efforts of those before us. Students today are incredibly lucky to have children’s books like this to learn about heroes such as Georgia. After reading this book, we have hope that young people will have better access to these stories instead of learning about organizers like Georgia Gilmore as adults.
This book was sent to us by little bee books but all opinions are our own!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Dee Romito is an author of books for young readers and a former elementary school teacher. She’s also an active PTA parent, Co-founder of the Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators (BNCWI), and the PAL Coordinator (for published members) of West/Central NY SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).
Dee has lived in Buffalo, NY for most of her life and loves it there. (There’s a lot more to this place than winter snow and it truly is The City of Good Neighbors.) She’s had her share of travels around the world and short stints elsewhere, including a semester in London, a summer waitressing near the beach in North Carolina, and a first year of teaching in Atlanta.
Laura Freeman is originally from New York City, but now lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children. Laura received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and began her career working for various editorial clients. Laura has illustrated over thirty children’s books, including Hidden Figures written by Margot Lee Shetterly, the Nikki & Deja series by Karen English and Fancy Party Gowns by Deborah Blumenthal. In addition to illustrating books and editorial content, her art can be found on a wide range of products, from dishes and textiles to greeting cards.