Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack
Celebrating Black History Month at the VCU Libraries
Reviewed by Jennifer Roach, Undergraduate Services Specialist
Here is a special children's book depicting life for an African-American child confronted with segregation laws of the 1950s. Tricia Ann is finally old enough to go to "Someplace Special" all by herself. Her concerned grandmother sends her off with encouragement, "hold yo' head up and act like you b'long to somebody." Along the way Tricia Ann encounters the Jim Crow sign indicating where she must sit on the bus. She cannot sit on the bench near the fountain her grandfather helped to construct. She is not welcome in the hotel lobby, or the main entrance of the movie theatre. Jerry Pinkney, illustrator, portrays the main character in a vibrant blue dress and she is the focal point of every page. His illustrations show the confusion, disappointment, and frustration Tricia Ann experiences. Tricia Ann finally arrives at the special place her grandmother calls "a doorway to freedom." She reads the words carved into the side of the grand building:
PUBLIC LIBRARY: ALL ARE WELCOME.
We learn from an author’s note that the story is based on personal experiences growing up in Nashville, TN during the segregation of the 1950s.