This blog is for teachers, parents, librarians and the general community. Purple Ninjas is about books and the literacy connections that can be made to reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, art and music. Reading and writing once were considered to be separate skills; however, today reading and writing are also processes that facilitate learning in content areas.
Summary: Inspired by a true story by the author (Bandy), Michael and his grandmother travel to town in a hot, dusty bus. When they arrive in town, Michael is very thirsty and runs to get a drink at the Colored drinking fountain. After a few sips, the water tastes rusty. Michael notices a white boy drinking at the White drinking fountain, and he decides the water from that fountain must taste “icy cold” and is determined to drink from that fountain.
Personal thoughts: Not familiar with the co-authors, I was first drawn to this book because of illustrations. As the story unfolded, I found myself caught up in Michael’s antics on meticulous plans he made to drink out of the forbidden water fountain. A delightful twist at the end of the story when he happens to fall at the water fountain and finds the same pipe fed both fountains!
“By the time we finally got to town, I was really thirsty. I couldn’t wait to run to the drinking fountain and take a big, long drink. I guess that other boy was thinking the same thing.” (Unnumbered pages)
“I was so thirsty that even the warm, rusty water tasted OK. But only for a few sips. After those first few sips, it tasted like nasty, muddy, gritty yuck.” (Unnumbered pages)
“It didn’t make any sense to me when that boy from the bus kept on drinking. The water he must be drinking must be cool. It must be fresh. I was sure it must be pure and icy cold, like mountain water. Suddenly I just had to know what that white water tasted like.” (Unnumbered pages)
Connections to Writing: Expository— (1) Many people believe that one small change can make the world a better place. What one change would you make to make the world a better place to live? Be sure to explain to the reader why your change would make the world a better place. (2) Have students pick a specific historical event and write their own picture book.
Connections to Writing: Narrative—(1) Simulated journal—pretend you are Michael and write in a journal as he makes his plans to drink out of the “White” drinking fountain.
(2) Dialogue—create a dialog between Michael and his grandmother when she finds out his plan to drink out of the forbidden drinking fountain.
Connections to Social Studies: This book can serve as catalyst to talk about segregation at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement.