From life at home to life on the playground, being treated fairly is something that my students are obsessed with. I would be a rich man if I had a nickel for every post-recess conversation that I have moderated that involved the issue of fairness.
I’m thankful that books like Renee Watson’s Harlem’s Little Blackbird exist for students to see how other people dealt with being treated unfairly. Florlence Mills’s story is an important one for my fourth graders to hear. In all honesty, I had never heard of Florence Mills before I read Harlem’s Little Blackbird, but it is a story that I will never forget. Harlem’s Little Blackbird tells the story of Florence’s journey to be able to share her musical talents with the world. Unfortunately for Florence, the world was not a kind place to black musicians in the 1920s.
I won’t give away any more of the story. You NEED to check it out for yourself.
What I love most about Harlem’s Little Blackbird is the discussions it generated in my fourth grade classroom. It didn’t take long for my students to bring up how unfair things were for Florence. Our conversation got real good when the students started discussing how Florence handled being treated unfairly, and what she did make things better not only for herself, but also for the people around her.
The world is a better place because authors like Renee Watson write books like Harlem’s Little Blackbird. I hope your students get as much out of the book as mine have.