Freedom on the Menu

By: Carole Weatherford Paintings By: Jerome Lagarrugue


"Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-ins" by Carole Boston Weatherford and paintings by Jerome Lagarrigue was published in 2005 by the Penguin Group.

This read aloud is planned for third graders. "Freedom on the Menu" is a picture book about a group of college students during the Civil Rights Movement, who were tired of living a lifestyle of "second-class everything." African Americans were not allowed to sit at lunch counters, drink out of certain water fountains, and more. Four college freshman challenged this rule by sitting-in one day at a lunch counter. Their bravery provoked more students to do the same. After seven long month of sit-ins and protests their dedication eventually paid off. They received their equality.

The illustrations/paintings are beautiful and show an accurate representation of what it would have looked like if the little girl was walking through each and every page of the book. You see things such as what they would have seen at the restaurant and on the streets, as well as what they as African Americans would have to go through.
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Carole grew up in an all-black neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. She was an only child until the age of 10. She has fond memories of riding bikes, drawing and writing, and singing and tap dancing to her dad's collection of jazz records. Carole recited her first poem in the first grade. Once she was in college, one of her poems was published in a city magazine, that's when she seriously considered becoming an author.

The illustrator, Jerome Lagarrigue was born in 1973 to a French father and an American moths, and was raised in Paris. He moved to the United States in 1992 and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. He has since received several awards for his work, including the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award as well as the Ezra Jack Keats Award. He is featured in a fill length documentary called HEAVYWEIGHTPAINT about four Brooklyn-based figurative painters.
Meet Carole Boston Weatherford


  1. "Be rich in cultural detail" - The book is rich in cultural detail by giving examples of African Americans not being able to sit at the lunch counters or drink out of the water fountains that were for whites. The book provides illustrations to help us put a visual to these realistic actions that took place during the Civil Rights Movement.
  2. "Include characters with a cultural group or between two or more cultural groups who interact substantively and authentically." - The book focus's on African Americans and Whites interacting in a social setting, not normally in a pleasant way. The interaction is mostly in the five-and-dime store, where they weren't allowed to sit down.
  3. "Demonstrate unique language or style" - You can tell the young girl in the book is from the south because of the way she speaks sometimes. A couple examples being "My brother wants to be president when he's all grown." "Don't ya'll understand English?"


Vocabulary Words:
Freedom- The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
NAACP- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the oldest and largest Civil Rights organization in the United States. Their purpose is for the elimination of racial discrimination.

Read Aloud:
  • Show students the cover of the book and read the title to them "Freedom on the Menu," then ask them "What do you think this book is going to be about? can we infer anything from the illustration on the cover?"
  • Begin reading pages (the book doesn't have pages, count from start of story) 1-3 and then pause to ask the students "Do you ever ask for dessert at a restaurant and your parents won't let you, or say you guys have some at home?" "How does that make you feel?"
  • Continue reading until you finish up page 6 and ask, "Who is Dr. King?" "Why do you think he is coming to town?"
  • Next read onto page 11, finish it up and then ask "Remember when we talked about NAACP? Who can remind me what it is, raise your hand."
  • Continue onto page 16, and relate to the students background knowledge "Do you have any siblings at home?" "Do you ever think your parents aren't being fair?" "Is that similar to what's happening in the story?"
  • Read on to finish the rest of the book.
  • After finishing the book ask the kids "What do think would happen if everyone stopped picketing and protesting?" "Would it be good or bad and why?"


  • At the end of the book and after all the questions are answered I want to simulate what it may be like to go through what little Connie in the book had to go through.
  • Separate the kids on different sides on the carpet, brown eyes on one side, and every other color on the other.
  • Then, pull out a box of cookies. Hand them to all the kids that have brown eyes.
  • Ask the kids that didn't receive a cookie "how does it feel to not get a cookie just because you don't have brown eyes?" "Is that fair?"
  • Explain to the kids that this is a minor activity that shows how Connie and the others may have felt not being able to sit at the lunch counter.
  • After that the torturing can stop, the other students can have a cookie and then go back to their desk and proceed to the end of the day activities.


I picked "Freedom on the Menu" to read to my 3rd graders because I have five African American students in my class. Aside from Caucasian students, I only have one Hispanic boy and a Native American girl so I wouldn't have been able to relate a topic as easy. My read aloud went very well, my students were engaged and interested in the topic and always wanted to ask questions. Their hands were up constantly (in particularly the little African American girls, they knew a lot about what I was reading). If I were to do another read aloud I may stand up or sit in a different spot, it was slightly difficult to show the illustrations in the book to the rest of the students that weren't directly in front of me. I wasn't super nervous for the presentation, mainly because my CT has let me do two practice read alouds already and she is extremely supportive and always is wanting to help me with anything I need. I think multicultural read aloud are important to implement in the classroom, because it helps the students learn about history in a different way than just reading from a text book. It helps their mind wander and keeps them more engaged I feel. It shows them the outside world that they may not see in the culture and environment that they are in now.