History also plays a role in Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins, Carole Boston Weatherford's poignant picture book on the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins that began on February 1, 1960. Graced by the art of award-winning illustrator Jerome Lagarrique, the story is told from the point of view of a fictitious young girl who sees these events through the actions of her older brother and sister. More than anything, Connie wants to sit at the lunch counter, swivel on the stool and dig into a luscious banana split. But she learns from her mother the boundaries set up in her North Carolina world: rules that proclaim whites only at water fountains, swimming pools, movie theaters, bathrooms and restaurants. Through Connie's eyes, we see the role that young people played in breaking down these barriers, beginning when four college students sat at Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro and asked to be served. Thanks to this and similar student-led sit-ins, on July 25, 1960, blacks were finally allowed to eat at the lunch counter. With its evocative art, child's-eye perspective and an informative author's note that includes a photo of the sit-in, Freedom on the Menu is an outstanding example of the kind of historical fiction that helps children better understand the past.
Deborah Hopkinson's newest book is Billy and the Rebel, a story for young readers inspired by a true incident at the Battle of Gettysburg.