This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

This is Rope9780399239861_p0_v2_s260x420This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

Jacqueline Woodson, Author

James Ransome, Illustrator

Nancy Paulsen Books, Fiction, Aug. 29, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Theme: Migration of African-Americans north, Jump rope, Family, Moving

Opening:  “This is the rope my grandmother found beneath an old tree a long time ago back home in South Carolina. This is the rope by grandmother skipped under the shade of a sweet-smelling pine.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: When a little girl in South Carolina finds a rope under a tree, she has no idea it will become part of her family’s history. But for three generations, that rope is passed down, used for everything from jump rope games to tying suitcases onto a car for the big move north to New York City, and even for a family reunion where that first little girl is now a grandmother.

Why I like this story: Jacqueline Woodson calls This is the Rope a fictive memoir. She writes a very lyrical and engaging story based on the dreams of the many African-Americans who journeyed from the south to northern cities from the 1900s to mid 1970s to find better jobs and lives for their families.  Woodson’s mother and father left South Carolina in 1968 and moved to Brooklyn. I like how she uses the image of the rope repeatedly as a symbol of family linking one generation to the next. Ransome’s rich and colorful oil paintings vividly highlight scenes of the south and north in an uplifting manner.  His double-page spreads  are filled with expression and details of each period of history. This is a beautiful collaborative book by Woodson and Ransome. Visit Jacqueline Woodson at her website.

Resources:  There is an author’s note in the beginning of the book that talks about the great migration of African-American families. Woodson has a teacher’s guide on her website about using her books in the classroom.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

35 thoughts on “This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

  1. So glad you have reviewed this one, Pat. I did feel it should be added to the PPBF list. I love the rope theme/symbolism, too.

  2. This book sounds like a keeper. The rope makes a powerful and fascinating metaphor for linking through time and, at another level an ironic one that connects to the tragic history of shackling and lynching that occurred. Thus, the rope performs a literary “Double Dutch.” Thanks for sharing this one!

  3. Pat, I agree with Tina above. You have a really good eye for finding quality books. This book sounds so wonderful. Love the idea of a rope becoming part of this little girl’s family history. (I must confess I’m already a huge fan of Jacqueline Woodson. Heard her speak at an SCBWI conf. She was incredible!)

  4. I love Jacquiline Woodson books. They have a human touch to them. I have’t read this one and I’m sure my library doesn’t carry it. I’ve looked for all her books there.

    I may purchase it for I do so love all Her books. 🙂

  5. I like the idea of something like a jump rope being passed on from generation to generation, and getting to see it come full circle. This sounds like a beautiful story of family that I’m going to check for next time I’m at the library.

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