Sunday, October 31, 2010

SLIS 5420 - Module 10 - Pink and Say

Module 10 - Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco


Polacco, Patricia. Pink and Say. Philomel Books, 1994. ISBN: 0-399-22671-0

When young Sheldon (Say) is wounded in the Civil War, it is Pinkus Aylee who rescues him and carries him to his mother's house. While they are there, they become friends only to be torn away from one another by Confederate Soldiers who place them both in a prison camp. Say lives on to remember Pink who saved his life.

What I Thought
I was almost afraid to pick up this book. Everyone I know who has read it said it made them cry. Then I peeked at the ending and saw that Pink died and I didn't want to see a sad ending. But finally, I read it and I cried. But what made the difference was that I understood the story and felt it deep in my heart. This book really touched me. It's powerful.

There are 3 especially beautiful moments. One beautiful moment is when Moe Moe hold Say who can't sleep because he is afraid of death and afraid of his own perceived lack of courage. The other is when Pink wants to touch the hand of Say who once shook Abe Lincoln's hand. The last moment that is truly beautiful is when Patricia, the writer, points out that when her father told her the story of her ancestor, Say, he put out his hand and said, "This is the hand, that has touched the hand, that has touched the hand, that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln," (p. 34). This creates a chain of human lives that can trace history back to a connection. Patricia becomes part of the story of history. Her family tells this story to remember Pink, who had no family.


Outside Reviews
"This book, the story of Polacco's great-great-grandfather, has been passed down from generation to generation in the author-artist's family. Fifteen-year-old soldier Sheldon Russell Curtis - Say to his family - has been left for dead on a Civil War battlefield somewhere in Georgia. A fellow Union soldier, Pinkus Aylee, who is African American - "I had never seen a man like him so close before. His skin was the color of polished mahogany" - discovers him and, with much effort, drags the feverish Say home, where his mother, a slave named Moe Moe Bay, nurses Say back to health. As the boys regain their strength, they become as close as real family and discuss things close to their hearts. Pink shares his special talent: Master Aylee, his owner, had taught him how to read. "'To be born a slave is a heap o' trouble, Say. But after Aylee taught me to read, even though he owned my person, I knew that nobody, ever, could really own me.'" Say receives special comfort from Moe Moe when he admits that he deserted his troop and is afraid to return to the war. On the morning the two boys plan to leave and search for their respective troops, marauding Confederate soldiers arrive and kill Moe Moe. Pink and Say are later captured and become prisoners of the Confederate Army, in Andersonville. Although Say lived to tell this story of friendship and brotherhood, Pink was hanged within hours of arriving at the dreaded prison. Told in Say's colorful, country-fresh voice, the text incorporates authentic-sounding dialect and expressions - such as darky - that would have been used at the time. Polacco's characteristic acrylic, ink, and pencil illustrations are suitably dramatic and focus on the intense physical and emotional joy and pain of the story's three main characters. The remarkable story, made even more extraordinary in its basis in actual events, raises questions about courage, war, family, and slavery. A not-to-be-missed tour de force."

Fader, E., & Silvey, A. (1994). Pink and Say. Horn Book Magazine, 70(6), 724. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.

"Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco is a rarity -- a picture book that can invoke tears. The true story, passed on by Polacco's great-grandfather, tells of 15-year-old Civil War soldier Sheldon "Say" Curtis, who was shot and left to die. Pinkus Aylee, a young black soldier known as Pink, saves Say, who is white, but both are endangered by marauding Southerners. Pink and Say is strong stuff for 6-year-olds; two sympathetic characters die. For older kids, it is a powerful introduction to the horrors of war, without melodrama."

Silver, M. (1994). An off year for kid lit. U.S. News & World Report, 117(22), 95. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Using this book in the library
This book is a great addition to any unit or book group that is reading about war, history or Black History.

For more information
Visit Patricia Polacco's website about Pink and Say. There are printables and ecards available.

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