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Reading into History @ Home: This Promise of Change

Reading into History @ Home: This Promise of Change
Join us online! | Sunday, April 19 | 2-3 pm

Free; ages 9-12

Explore the inspiring true story of This Promise of Change, one of this year’s finalists for the annual Children’s History Book Prize. An autobiographical account written in verse, it tells the story of Jo Ann Allen and 12 classmates who were part of an early effort to desegregate schools in the South. Authors Jo Ann Allen Boyce herself and Debbie Levy log on remotely to share personal anecdotes and describe what it was like to collaborate. Register for the Zoom event below. 

Register for Zoom here >

Want to join the Family Book Club email list? Write us at familyprograms@nyhistory.org.

Get ready for April 19 with these supplemental materials and activites.

What do you want to change? Are there any issues that you’re passionate about? At the beginning of our session on April 19, we'll invite families to share their responses! 

Watch a short film made by Cameron Boyce, Jo Ann Allen Boyce’s grandson, in honor of Black History Month. 

Check out primary source footage of Jo Ann Allen Boyce speaking (at 10 minutes, 45 seconds and again at 46 minutes) on See It Now: Clinton and the Law, which aired on television on January 6, 1957, then go back to Chapter 102 in This Promise of Change to see when Boyce and Levy reference this footage. 

Activists fought for equal access to education long before the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954 and the Civil Rights Movement. Read about Mary McCleod Bethune, who dedicated her life to racial justice and education.

In 1964, New Yorkers demanded change in the school system. Look closely at photographs from the frontlines of New York City’s school boycott. What do you notice? Who are the activists? What do their signs say?

Write your own haiku! There are 10 different poetic styles used in This Promise of Change. One of these is the haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry which consists of three lines. You can find examples in the book in Chapters 64, 78, and 101.

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