A Gift From Greensboro

Penny Candy Books

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A Gift from Greensboro  is at once an elegy, a celebration of the magic of childhood friendship, and a meditation on growing up in the wake of the sit-ins that ushered in the Civil Rights Movement. Paired with intricate, layered illustrations, this poem recognizes that true friendship knows no boundaries and that love drives positive change. 

With an informative, accessible afterword by the author. 

A Gift from Greensboro is set against the backdrop of a movement that changed history. The sit-ins that spread like wildfire across the American south began in Greensboro, NC, on Feb. 1, 1960 (though there were sit-ins around the country in places like Oklahoma before this, from which Lansana's experience springs). 

This spare poem and its illustrations challenge readers to discover how history affects us: two boys in the 70s, a white kid and a black kid, eat together at the Woolworth lunch counter, only vaguely aware of the struggle a decade before that allowed them to sit together. Hill’s illustrations juxtapose the boys’ friendship with scenes of the famed Greensboro Four—four college students who had the courage to sit down at a lunch counter, enduring the abuse that would ensue—so that we see, layer by layer, the way our history of protest actually makes a difference. 

What People Are Saying...

"Reminding readers of all ages how important and transformative peaceful protest can be, A Gift from Greensboro is a story of strength, friendship, and the many-layered history of civil rights in the United States." —E. CE Miller, Bustle

''…a book that creatively glances backward and forward, offering hope for an America that wants to be post-racial but isn't yet.'' —Kirkus Reviews

“An elegant, important story—lovingly and beautifully told.” –Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

"This is a moving book that I would recommend to anyone, a must read in light of current events. Lansana and Hill bring history alive and make it modern and real for readers struggling to understand the what and the why of current events." —Books Before Bandaids

"I'm delighted to find a book that shows the next generation of American children one of the positive changes that have taken place in this country over the last 50-odd years: friendships like this one. It's nice to find these two friends making history in their own ways." —Marylin Nelson, A Wreath for Emmett Till

A Gift from Greensboro is an elegant, elegiac time capsule of a childhood friendship innocently thriving in the midst of a racial history lost to time, commerce and gentrification. In gently charged lines, Quraysh Ali Lansana’s enthralling poem is brought to majestic life through Skip Hill’s vibrant visual acuity, capturing a time and place peopled in history, nostalgia and memory where detailed sketches of faces, figures, body parts and iconic imagery is peppered with the finest black-and-white meticulous detail and splotches of vibrant color, creating rich juxtapositions of text and imagery belying racial realities unable to interrupt genuine human connection."—Tony Medina, The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems

"A Gift From Greensboro is just that...an accessible, layered, and utterly moving treasure for children and their parents. Lansana's gorgeously illustrated poem tells a story about what was, what is, and what's possible as it pertains to race relations in a country that is split at the root. Its tale of interracial friendship against a backdrop of historic division is a perfect tool for parents who wish to engage in dialogues with their children about the world that they are inheriting, which is to say, a world they have the power to change." —Samantha Thornhill, poet for Odetta: The Queen of Folk

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