Monday, April 27, 2015

The Butter Bean Lady by Rosalind Bunn and Kathleen Howard- A Review

The Butter Bean Lady  

Published: September 1, 2012

Authors: Rosalind Bunn and Kathleen Howard
Illustrator: Lydia Rupinski 
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: ARKPublishing, LLC; First edition (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English

About the Authors

Rosalind teaches at East Side Elementary in East Cobb.  She has three grown children and a new grandson.  Her new book, Whose Shadow Do I See?, will be released Fall 2015 illustrated by Mark Braught.  This book is being published by Deeds Publishing.  

Kathleen is a retired kindergarten teacher and lives in Woodstock, Georgia.  Kathleen also has three grown children and enjoys spending time with her two year old grandsons.   

We had the pleasure of chatting with Rosalind and Kathleen during our adventures yesterday at Taste of Marietta. They were signing books in front of Lizards and Lollipops, an adorable toy store on the Square. It was wonderful meeting Kathleen and talking with Rosalind for a second time in person. I wish I could have spent more time chatting with them, but my girls were off and running into the toy store to get candy from the quarter candy machines.

About the Book

A story of love, friendship, and acceptance in Columbus, GA in the 1950s. As Dianne's grandmother buys produce from the Butter Bean Lady, the two young granddaughters have a day of play and adventure. The two families share a dinner together at the end of the day in this poignant and beautiful picture book.

My Review

I asked my daughter to read The Butter Bean Lady and write down her thoughts before we read it together. This book tackles the complexity of race relations in the South in the 1950's by describing the friendship one girl forged with Julia Belle, the Butter Bean Lady's daughter. While racism is never directly addressed, the story details how the Butter Bean Lady had to sell her vegetables at the back door of people's homes because she couldn't go to the front door. This fact was something my daughter could not get past. She kept asking, "Why didn't the Butter Bean lady just go to the front door?" I couldn't find the words to adequately explain why, but it opened the door for an excellent conversation about how different things were 65 years ago. 

 The Butter Bean Lady is like a version of the "The Help " for kids to read and is a glimpse at our sordid past. The story is told with a grace that makes it palatable for children, but doesn't shy from revealing the truth. I adore that the book is based on a true story, with pictures at the end of the story showing the real-life characters in the book. 

What is so great about this book is how children of different ages will be able to gain different lessons from the book. Small children will see a lovely story of friendship, while older children will be able to begin discussing the complexities of race. 

Bottom line, this is a fantastic book to read with children as our nation continues to grapple with the issue of race.

FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copies from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book. **This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!  

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