10 March 2011
While the World Watched
McKinstry, Carolyn Maull. While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2011.
I was quite intrigued by this book. As an English teacher, I used to teach Mildred Taylor's book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to my seventh grade students. It took the better part of a week to orient them to the context and setting of that story. During that orientation time, I brought in as many outside sources as possible. My students needed to understand the dark and frightening world that was the South after the Civil War. They had not grown up with this sort of racism or violence. In a way, I was glad that I had to teach them these things.
If I still had a classroom, I would definitely incorporate this memoir into my lessons. McKinstry does an excellent job of making the world seem real as she describes her childhood during the time of the civil rights movement. It was fascinating to read about this part of history from a first-person perspective instead of from a few paragraphs in a history book. McKinstry's faith also plays a bit role in her story, and it would be great to show my students what it means to live a life of faith in the midst of difficulties. This book is definitely worth reading, and for those in education, this is worth putting on your classroom shelf.