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Don't Say Ain't: 01/23/10
I chose Don't Say Ain't for the CORA Diversity Roll Call when we were asked to recommend early readers. I chose it for the beautiful watercolor cover.
The setting for Don't Say Ain't is Harlem in 1957. Three neighborhood friends are being broken up because on of them has been given a chance to go to an advanced school. The remaining girls shun their friend and the children at the new school shun her too because she's new.
Don't Say Ain't introduces children to life in Harlem in the early days of the Civil Rights movement. The vibrant painted illustrations bring this era to life. While I read the book once, I spent another couple of times just admiring the artwork by Colin Bootman.
The book though isn't just about Harlem or civil rights. There's also the timeless tale of finding the balance between private life and public life. The lesson of Don't Say Ain't isn't to never say ain't but to know how when to be formal and when to be informal. It's also about self respect and self improvement and sacrifice while keeping friendships and family ties.