Cover image for Riding to Washington
Riding to Washington
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Chelsea, MI : Sleeping Bear Press, c2008.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Reading Level:
AD 650 L Lexile
Added Author:
"A young white girl rides the bus with her father to the March on Washington in 1963--at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would give his "I Have a Dream" speech. She comes to see that Dr. King's dream belongs not just to Blacks but to all Americans"--Provided by publisher.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY SWA 1 1
Book EASY SWA 1 1
Book EASY SWA 0 3
Book EASY SWA 1 1

On Order



Janie is not exactly sure why her daddy is riding a bus from Indianapolis to Washington, D.C. She knows why she has to go-to stay out of her mother's way, especially with the twins now teething. But Daddy wants to hear a man named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak and, to keep out of trouble, Janie is sent along. Riding the bus with them is a mishmash of people, black and white, young and old. They seem very different from Janie.As the bus travels across cities and farm fields to its historic destination, Janie sees firsthand the injustices that many others are made to endure. She begins to realize that she's not so different from the other riders and that, as young as she is, her actions can affect change.Though fiction, Riding to Washington is a very personal story for GwenythSwain as both her father and grandfather rode to Washington, D.C., toparticipate in the 1963 civil rights march on the nation's capital. Ms. Swain'sother books include Chig and the Second Spread and I Wonder As I Wander.She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.Artist David Geister has entertained audiences for years with his costumedportrayals of historic characters from the nineteenth century, and his artworkreflects his interest in history and dramatic storytelling. Riding to Washingtonis his third title with Sleeping Bear Press. David lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-Swain bases this story on her father's remembrances of attending the August 1963 March on Washington, DC. Fed up with Janie's impulsive behavior, Mama sends the girl on a bus trip with her father to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., speak at the Lincoln Memorial. Not many "black folks" live in Janie's part of Indianapolis, but she's seen TV news reports of "coloreds" being sprayed with fire hoses and chased by police dogs in the South. While boarding the bus, she meets the wife of one of her father's employees. Mrs. Taylor is an elegant black woman who wears a matching suit and "hat like Mrs. Kennedy." During the journey, the driver can't locate a restaurant that will serve a "mixed crowd." When they stop at a gas station, Mrs. Taylor decides to ignore the "No Coloreds" sign over the restroom door. Inspired by her determination, Janie accompanies the woman and helps teach the young attendant a quiet lesson in compassion. Listening to Dr. King speak, Janie realizes that his dream is important for everyone, not just African Americans. The text effectively describes Janie's experiences, and readers can easily imagine how they would respond in similar situations. The illustrations provide a strong sense of the period. The soft earth tones and rounded forms create a mood of safety and stability. This heartfelt tale provides an unusual and compelling perspective on a historical event.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

In Riding, Janie goes with her father on a bus to hear Martin Luther King Jr. In Lucky, Ruth's school is closed during the Great Depression. Both stories purport to show a child's interpretation of a time in history, though their voices waver unconvincingly between naive and profound. The realistic-looking paintings, though stiff, make good use of light and shadow. [Review covers these Tales of Young Americans titles: Riding to Washington and The Lucky Star.] (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Traveling by bus with her dad to Washington, D.C., in August 1963, a young girl from an all-white neighborhood isn't sure what awaits her. But on the journey, she encounters discrimination when restaurants refuse to serve mixed crowds, and she's made aware of a No Coloreds sign at a gas-station restroom, which she helps a passenger challenge. Then, as part of the huge gathering in Washington, she hears a speech by Dr. King, and she understands that the dream he speaks of belongs to everyone. Geister's unframed, period paintings give a strong sense of the times, from the large picture of the bus on the road to the close-up portraits of the girl and the African American friend she makes during their travels. The child's viewpoint personalizes those archival images of the great March on Washington in this entry in the Tales of Young Americans series.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2008 Booklist