Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack

A few months ago, I recommended the book The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Gisella Potter. And, I was honestly a bit surprised by how many of you had never read any of McKissack’s works! At the time, I vowed to remedy that, and since our family’s focus this month is on resilience, Goin’ Someplace Special by McKissack, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, is the perfect McKissack book for you to get to know and love!

*** Affiliate links used.

McKissack and Pinkney is a hard-to-beat author/illustrator combo, and Goin’ Someplace Special is indeed a special book. ‘Tricia Ann is thrilled when her grandmother decides she is ready to go “Someplace Special” on her own… but on her own, ‘Tricia Ann learns that the journey to “Someplace Special” is significantly harder than she had ever realized before. She sits in the “colored section” of the bus, standing to give her seat to someone older when her section fills, she sits on the wrong bench when she rests in the park, she gets kicked out of a hotel lobby when a crowd accidentally sweeps her inside… And she begins to feel that she can’t make this journey on her own, that she needs her grandmother’s strength to overcome these obstacles on the way to “Someplace Special.”

But then, a kind friend reminds ‘Tricia Ann of what is good and true:

You are somebody, a human being — no better, no worse than anybody else in this world. Gettin’ someplace special is not an easy route.

But don’t study on quittin’, just keep walking straight ahead — and you’ll make it.

And with that reminder to dig deep and find her strength, courage, and resilience, ‘Tricia Ann does continue on, eventually making it to “Someplace Special,” a place where all are truly welcome.

In addition to conversations about resilience, this autobiographical work (you’re going to want to read the Author’s Note here, and be sure to share it with your children or students) is a great opener for learning about segregation, integration, Jim Crow laws, and civil rights. In fact, I used to read this every year with my third graders and share it regularly with my girls now. And every single reading leads to such wonderful questions and conversations that we all take something new away each time.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t briefly mention just how beautiful Pinkney’s illustrations are! Pinkey’s watercolors are always colorful and lush, but they seem to burst with emotion in Goin’ Someplace Special.

If you liked this, be sure to check out the rest of the books on our list of picture books to promote resilience. You might also be interested in our list of terrific books for Black History. You can also use the affiliate links below to purchase your own copy of Goin’ Someplace Special!

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