Young Lorraine Jackson, a school-aged girl, tells the story of the Memphis Sanitation Strike and how it affected her family. Lorraine is based on the life of a real teacher who participated in the Memphis Sanitation Strike as a child. The background of why the strike occurred is explained and subsequent information is presented in chronological order. Prominent people, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached his last sermon to the sanitation workers the night before he was killed, are described. Some people who are not well known today, like Echol Cole and Robert Walker, who were killed when their garbage truck's packer blade malfunctioned, are also remembered. The boldly colored, vivid illustrations add to the meaning of the story. Although this event is tragic, it is told in a way that elementary children can understand and discuss without becoming overly emotional. The book could be read many times and new information would be discovered with each new reading. The text is comprised of both poetry and prose. Throughout the book, the author uses descriptive words that make this book excellent to use as a mentor text for writing. Each choice in diction conjures a specific meaning and acts as the perfect word to help the reader picture and feel what is happening in the story. There are also numerous quotes included in the text, which add to its historical authenticity. The book ends with a chronological index, a paragraph about the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, a page of sources with a source note, and a page of acknowledgments.
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