Racism and fair treatment of others are topics that are very important, especially in the modern world and people’s rights movement. Children make-up a sensitive part of the population which must be taught how to behave in society with respect and understanding of others. Children’s books are often written to address the issues of the bigger society, in the hope that they will learn what not to do and how to live full and successful lives.
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“Henry’s Freedom Box” is a book by Ellen Levine where she addresses the issue of a young boy and racism. His life starts out rough, as himself and his family are sold to slave owners. This tears the family apart and continues to persist in his early life. The fact that he does not have a birthday, adds to the effect how poorly even the children were treated and made to be slaves at such an age.
The title suggests that he is looking for freedom and that is all that occupies his mind. “Tar Beach” by Faith Ringgold is another example of a story about African-American racism. The story talks of a child who wants to feel the freedom and the joy of flight. The girl dreams about being able to fly and so, flies over to the “Tar Beach”.
Even though it is a fictional work, it is possible to relate to the little girl because she loves her city and respects it but she cannot live her dreams and so, they can only be magically granted when she is sleeping. “Ron’s Big Mission” by Rose Blue describes a story of a boy who had the quest for knowledge but could not be allowed to take books out of the library.
It illustrates how such a rightful thing was reserved only to the white society and such unfairness had to be experienced by children. This is very displeasing to “Ron” and he sets out on the determined course to get a library card. In the end, he does get it and is able to enjoy the ability others have had for a long time without any fighting or convincing.
An interesting fact is that all three books address an important topic of racism and do it in a very life-like and child related way. The all have the common theme of freedom and children being able to feel its lack in their lives. They do anything they can think off, anything that makes possible to attain their goals and reach the dreams that others can have without any struggle.
There is some fiction added to produce the effect that sometimes, children have no choice but to dream and that is the only time that they can truly be free of racism and limitations because of the way they look. All three books are very effective and teach children to not be afraid to fight for their dreams.
In “Tar Beach” and “Henry’s Freedom Box” the theme of flight is particularly addressed and is linked with the ability of a child to do what they feel is right and what they should have full access to. “Ron’s Big Mission” describes a real issue that a lot of people can relate to and understand its unfairness. The books present a special and teaching experience to children and even their parents.