Picture books are powerful teaching tools, not just for elementary kids but for older readers as well. I have taught, read, and written about American history for decades, but it took a picture book to introduce me to the Mendez family and their fight for school integration. Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh explores a legal case I’d wager is not taught in many history classes. It should be.
Author Archive for: JudyC
About Judy Dodge Cummings
Judy Dodge Cummings is a writer and former history teacher who lives in south central Wisconsin. She taught history for 26 years and has Bachelor of Arts degrees in broadfield social studies and psychology and a MFA in creative writing for children and teens. She has published 20 nonfiction books.
Entries by Judy Dodge Cummings
I come from a family of eight kids. When we get together we sing, usually parodies aimed at one sibling or another. But when I was about nine years old, my sister Liz (2 years older) and I composed a song that stemmed from a deep love of country. In the true American tradition, we wrote a protest song. We have our parents to thank for that.
Feeling a little under the weather? I’ve got just the thing. I’m currently writing four books in a series with very tight deadlines so I have not had time to post on my blog. However, I had to take a minute out to share this. The current book I’m writing is about grave robberies. In my research, I stumbled across this tasty tidbit (pun intended).
Myths and misconceptions exist about what caused the Civil War. In 2015, the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll to explore Americans’ beliefs about this pivotal conflict. The results indicated that 48% of Americans believe the southern states seceded because of states’ rights and 38% of people believe the South seceded over slavery. But what does the historical evidence show?
In an age of immigration bans and border walls, it’s easy to see the world through an “us versus them” lens. But sometimes all it takes is a fleeting incident to alter one’s world view. When I was seven and traveling through India with my family, a bag of taffy helped me recognize the place of privilege I hold as a white, middle-class American. But that candy also helped me feel a kinship to other children. Here’s my tale of discovering the taste of shared humanity.
In honor of my favorite president–Mr. Lincoln–here is an activity that gives student historians practice dissecting primary sources, extracting meaning from them, and communicating that meaning in a coherent paragraph. In commemoration of Black History Month, the subject of Lincoln’s words is slavery.