All February Picks

For Elementary Readers

A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story

Young Sharon hears the story of how she, after a series of protests to integrate the park, is the first African American to ride on the carousel at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in 1963.

Apply in the Classroom

Before Sharon’s ride on the carousel, African Americans weren’t allowed to visit the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park. Talk with students about segregation and the laws that separated Black and white people in daily life—at restaurants, water fountains, schools, hospitals, parks, and more. 

Discuss how people protested these laws and businesses that treated people differently because of the color of their skin. Protesters believed these laws were unjust, and like Sharon, thought that people should treat others the way they want to be treated. Ask students to think about something they think is unfair or unjust and share it. Why do they think these problems or issues exist? What ideas do they have to solve the problem? How could a protest help solve the problem? Have students develop a statement about the injustice or issue that is important to them, then ask them to make a protest sign or a sidewalk chalk message to get others thinking, talking, and moving toward change.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

What is segregation? Why was the amusement park segregated? 

What happened to make Sharon’s ride possible?

What is a protest? What were people protesting in the book? Where else have you read or heard about protests?

How can a protest help solve a problem? What changed because of the protest at the park?

What is the Golden Rule? How do you want to be treated, and how will you treat others?