While When the Schools Shut Down : A Young Girl’s Story of Virginia’s “Lost Generation” and the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Decision is a slightly romantic telling of the several years after Brown v. Board of Education when one community went out of their way to make sure their black citizen did not get an education, this book is still strongly showing how much people want to learn, and how far they are willing to go to get what they want.
After the decision to desegregate schools, Farmville, Virginia, closed schools for the black children. Yet, the black community set up schools in churches and other places. Not only did they teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, the students were taught that life did not start or end with slavery in America. Several people are shown who helped shaped the past, and many are probably not known to the average reader.
Yolanda Gladden, illustrator Keisha Morris and Dr. Tamara Pizzoli made a picture book that is aimed at an older child (about 7 and up) but due to the picture book format, might be turned off from it. The afterwards and author notes include timelines, and more information about the time, people, and a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quotation about education.
This is the story of Gladden and their family, the story of many people like her, and the story of the country. This is a story of strength, being proud and knowing who you are and where you want to go.