To save an image, right click the thumbnail and choose "Save target as..." or "Save link as..."
Author: Lyons, Kelly Starling
The broom hanging on the family's cabin wall is a special symbol of Ellen's parents' wedding during slave days, so she carries it to the courthouse when the marriage becomes legal.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: .5 Quiz: 148129
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 2.40
Points: 2.0 Quiz: 56452
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, 2013
Common Core Standards
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Craft & Structure
Grade K → Reading → RL Literature → K.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 1 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 1.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 2.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 2 → Reading → RL Reading Literature → 2.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 2 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/12)
School Library Journal (01/01/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (03/12)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2012 K-Gr 3—According to an author's note, while Lyons was researching family history, she learned of the role played by the Freedmen's Bureau in authenticating the unregistered marriages of former slaves. This Reconstruction-era story imagines what that experience would be like. After their preacher announces the opportunity to register and be considered legally married, Ellen's parents and siblings gather around the broom hanging above their hearth. Papa explains the custom of "jumping the broom"—the ritual enacted by slaves to signify marital commitment: "we put this here broom on the ground, held hands and leaped into life together." The family then walks to the courthouse where Mama and Papa are married, with Mama holding the broom, which is later hung above the fireplace. Minter's striking hand-painted linoleum block prints create a range of physical and emotional settings as the parents reflect on their past and celebrate the significance of being "legal." Warm brown faces reflect the brilliant golden rays filling the church in a colorful opening imbued with joyous reverence. A muted palette with softer borders is employed for flashbacks, such as that of a husband and wife being cruelly separated by a master. The pink of the protagonist's dress connects to the flowers she and her sister gather to decorate the broom, as it becomes a link between their heritage and futures. Lyons's homespun and heartfelt dialogue combines with Minter's exquisite use of line, color, and composition to produce a story that radiates deep faith and strong family bonds.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2012 Set during Reconstruction, this story bursts with one family’s joy as Mama and Papa, both former slaves, legalize their marriage. When Deacon announces the new laws on Sunday, Ellen doesn’t fully understand, but she knows Mama’s tears are happy ones. Previously, slaves marked their unions with broom weddings. A couple would place a broom on the floor, hold hands, and leap over it “into life together.” And so as Mama and Papa head to the courthouse to add their names to the wedding registry, Ellen carries the broom, which has since hung over the hearth as a link to the past. An author’s note reveals that Lyons’ discovery of the 1866 Cohabitation List of Henry Country, Virginia—a document of a time when slave marriages weren’t protected by law—inspired the book. Minter’s vibrant, hand-painted block prints, filled with period detail, nicely enhance this testament to remembering the trials of the past and celebrating hard-won freedom. Use as a springboard for discussion with elementary-age children. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2012 Set during Reconstruction, this picture book, based on a historical event, opens with a preacher’s announcement to his black congregation that “all former slaves living as husband and wife shall be registered and seen as married in the eyes of the law.” Young Ellen doesn’t quite understand what this means until her mother explains to her that during slavery, slave couples like Ellen’s mother and father were only allowed “broom weddings,” wherein couples would jump over a broom and into their new life together. When it’s time to go to the courthouse to register her parents’ marriage, Ellen grabs the marriage broom from its spot over the mantle, decorates it with flowers, and hands it to her parents during the ceremony. From that day forward, the broom hangs along with the marriage certificate, symbolizing both events in the family’s history. While the story touches carefully upon some of the horrors of slavery, the emphasis here is on how formerly enslaved people moved forward and found new and meaningful ways to celebrate their freedoms during the period of Reconstruction. Current debates about the definition of marriage add additional relevance to the story, but the emphasis here is less on politics than familial love. The writing is unfortunately bland and stilted, undermining the individuality and interest of the story. The girl’s point of view is effectively emphasized, though, as she tries to make sense of the changing circumstances around her. Minter’s hand-colored linoprints are vibrantly inked, with strong and balanced compositions, but the figures are sometimes stiff and awkwardly posed. This is, however, an unusual selection about a period of history not often covered in picture books, and the story will enlighten many young listeners. An author’s note is included. HM - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.