These Hands

By: Margaret H. Mason Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

These Hands By Margaret H Mason Illustrated by Floyd Cooper spring 2011

This book will be read aloud to 4th graders at Gammon Elementary. This book is a story of a grandfather and his grandson named Joseph. The grandfather talks about things his hands are able to do, but explains there were things his hands were not allowed to do. This book tells the story of a grandfather overcoming racial discrimination through the struggles before the civil rights act in 1964.


Awards and Honors

-Sankai award illustration award japan 2012

- Golden Kite award 2012


This book has an appealing format, and a high endearing quality as you see the bond between the grandpa and grandson, and you see the effect of time through the next generations. The characters in the book are members of a "minority" group that show the importance of desegregation by showing the hurt of segregation. These characters are not used to fill a "quota" but rather tell their story. This book is short but does provide in depth treatment of cultural issues through showing the past prior to desegregation, the process of fighting for civil rights, and the present.

These Hands - Book Talk

Background Preparation for Multicultural Picture Book for Read Aloud and Vocabulary Presentation

This author began writing this book in 2006. Margaret may have began writing this book in the 21st century but she wrote about a man dealing with problems in the 1960's. The grandfather in this story was a real man that struggled with discrimination and was not allowed to cook or prepare the dough in the wonder bread factory he worked in. This man told his story to Margaret years ago. As she listened to this man tell share his struggles from the past his tone and gestures when sharing were all details that made this stick with her. As time went on Margaret could never forget the story she ha heard and realized stories like these were only passed on through word of mouth. At the point in time she realized this she decided to share this story through a picture book for children. The story itself is based in present time but the character is referring to times in the 1950's and 1960's as he shares a story himself. The Civil Rights act was passed in 1964, the story does not elaborate on the changes that African Americans experienced after the civil rights were passed.

Vocabulary (Figure of Speech)

Tie a bowline knot in three seconds flat- A person can tie a knot really fast. A bowline knot is a type of knot. Saying in three seconds flat does not mean you can do it in exactly three seconds it just means very quickly.

Make the ivories sing like a sparrow in springtime- Ivories are the white tips on the piano keys and somebody can play the piano so that the music sounds like a sparrow singing a sparrow is a type of bird.

Waterfall Shuffle- This means to shuffle a deck of cards so that they look like a waterfall.

Procedures for implementing read aloud and vocabulary presentation

- As you are introducing the book first ask students " What is the title of this book?"

- call on a student to answer this question.

- Next ask the students "What do you think this story is about?"

-After a few answers begin reading the book.

- Stop after reading the first page and the class "what does he mean when he says tie a bowline knot in three seconds flat."?

- After calling on two students if they have not yet answered correctly explain "this means he can tie a knot really fast, it does not mean he can do it in exactly three seconds."

- Stop again after the second page ask the class "what does it mean to make the ivories sing like a sparrow in springtime."?

- After calling on two students if they have not answered correctly explain to the class "ivories are the white tips on the piano keys and he was playing the piano so that the music sounded like a sparrow singing a sparrow is a type of bird."

- After reading page three out loud ask the class "did you hear any figures of speech on this page."?

- Call on two students. If the have not answered tell them that "a waterfall shuffle is a figure of speech, it means to shuffle a deck of cards so that they look like a waterfall."

- There are 19 students in the class. There will be 10 pages with the statement "she is a night owl" and nine pages with the statement "Time is money".

-Pass these papers out to the class in random order.

-Instruct the class to "write down a translation of what they think the figure of speech on their paper means."

-If students finish earlier than others tell them to "draw a picture of what this means."

-Once everyone has written their translation have ask the class "what was your statement and how did you translate this?"

- Allow one student to share for each statement then immediately give clarification.

"she is a night owl" means that a person is up all night long like an owl. "Time is money" means that there is little time and every second is very valuable or costly like money.

-After this activity, if time permits finish reading the rest of the book.

Written Reflection

There are eight African American students in my cooperating teachers classroom. The class has recently discussed civil rights and the development of the constitution. I felt as if the book appealed to the cultural background of these particular eight African American students. This book was also a very good pick as the recent social studies lessons taught related to the topic in the story. The strengths of this presentation included the student interaction and involvement, and the extent of helping the ESOL learners with their understanding of figures of speech. Next time I would do this presentation I would definitely plan on reading the whole story. After reading the whole story I would include some kind of class discussion over the story. This would be a very good opening into a social studies lesson. Implementing multicultural children’s literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has helped me overcome my fears of stepping into a teachers role with fourth grade students. This presentation was a very good opportunity for me to get in front of these students and talk about important topics that appeal to the students and can help them relate to one another as classmates. Most importantly this presentation has helped me feel prepared to teach this class future lessons for the semester.