Freedom Riders were an important part of history. Billie and Jarmaine will soon become a part of the fight for the rights of a people.
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Title: Night On Fire
Author: Ronald Kidd
Illustrations: David Wardle
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Billie Sims lives in the town of Anniston, Alabama. In her time blacks are segregated from whites. It’s just the way it is and in the 13 years of her life she’d never known any other way. When a bus full of Freedom Riders is attacked in her town she watches as the violence towards the blacks on the bus unfolds. The police, along with her father, did nothing to help. When she meets and befriends her maid’s daughter Jarmaine, her life begins to change.
Billie and Jarmaine get on a bus to Birmingham. They want to see Martin Luther King, Jr speak. On their journey they adjusted to becoming Freedom Riders themselves. As Billie witnesses how blacks are treated, she has realized her own actions and how much segregation there really was and that she had been a part of it. Can Billie continue to stand by and accept this world or will she gain the courage to fight for a right way and better way of life for a people?
Author Ronald Kidd has taken a touchy but yet historical situation and given readers the point of view of a young white girl in the south. Although the story has sensitive parts it is not so harsh that young readers will shy away. This story needs to be told and young readers will be engaged. The story flows well and the characters are relatable. Teachers can utilize this tool as a way to ask and answer questions regarding the Civil Rights Movement. Parents can use this tool as a way of sharing family history and what they were doing during this era if applicable.
Courtesy of Media Masters Publicity