|Day for rememberin' : inspired by the true events of the first Memorial Day|
Author: Henderson, Leah
In Charleston, South Carolina, in 1865, ten-year-old Eli and other newly freed slaves gather to honor the memory of fallen Union soldiers, an event considered to be one of the first celebrations of what is now called Memorial Day.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (04/15/21)
School Library Journal (05/28/21)
The Hornbook (00/07/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2021 The origins of Memorial Day have roots in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Henderson’s historical picture book convincingly posits that the first such holiday was held on May 1, 1865, at the Washington Race Course in Charleston, South Carolina, where Union soldiers were buried when the racetrack operated as a Confederate prison camp. Remembering the soldiers and fixing up the grave sites went hand in hand, and this effort was led by formerly enslaved people, including schoolchildren, as well as abolitionists. The moving story, as seen through the eyes of a newly freed boy watching his father and others work hard in anticipation of memorial festivities, is enhanced beautifully by Cooper’s illustrations, which convey determination as the men and boy work hard. On Memorial Day itself, faces full of pride are shown singing, praying, and celebrating in honor of those who lost their lives. The palette of sun gold, sky blue, dusty browns, and greens gives the pages a rooted, old-fashioned feel. A perfect book for enhancing collections celebrating national holidays and for adding to those honoring emancipation. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/28/2021 Gr 2–5—Henderson's latest tells the story of the first Memorial Day celebration from the perspective of a young African American boy whose family has recently been freed following the Civil War. The boy longs to go with his father to help him refurbish a racecourse that was made into a prison for Union soldiers during the war. Finally, he is allowed to assist in painting the fence while the adults establish a graveyard for the fallen soldiers. Once the memorial is complete, the entire African American community in Charleston marches from their homes to the cemetery in a parade. Though the event is sad, it is also a celebration of the end of slavery. Cooper's mixed-media illustrations beautifully depict the community's emotions and their actions in creating a memorial. Soft colors gently envelop readers in the story. Back matter includes an author's note, the roots of Decoration Day, a time line of the Civil War and Memorial Day, and a bibliography. VERDICT An enchanting account of the first Memorial Day, this book is recommended for all collections.—Sara Thomas, New Castle P.L., DE - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.