Texts Directly Related to the Story of Emmett Till
Campbell, Bebe Moore.
Your Blues Ain't Like Mine
. New York, NY: Ballantine Books,
1992. This is a fictional account of a story much like Emmett's. It might make an interesting comparison for students who are interested in seeing how historical events become inspiration for writing.
Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till
York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2003. Th is the core text of this unit and an excellent non-fiction read. Many students struggle with engagement in our non-fiction text, but students seem to love this one.
Mississippi Trial, 1955
. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2003. Crowe's fictional account of Emmett's murder. The protagonist in this story is actually a white boy visiting his grandfather at the same time that Emmett visits from Chicago. It's an interesting read as it retells Emmett's story from the outside and perspective of the white community.
A Wreath for Emmett Till
. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company,
2005. A children's picture book written in poem form. This could be a great model for a poetry assignment or an attention-grabbing intro to Emmett's story.
Other Civil Rights Stories
There are a number of really high quality books for young adults based on the Civil Rights Movement. These are just a few I have read or used in my classroom.
Tell All the Children Our Story.
New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,
2002. This is a history of the African American experience from slavery through Civil Rights, told from the perspective of real children. It is a beautiful book, full of visuals and artwork.
Curtis, Christopher Paul.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963.
New York, NY: Random
House, 1997. This tells the story of the Watson family, visiting their relative in Alabama from Michigan. One of the sisters is almost in the church that is bombed in 1963. This might be a useful book for illustrating the differences between Northern and Southern culture. It's also written around a fifth grade level for a struggling student that might want to know more.
Freedom's Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories
New York, NY: Puffin Books, 1993. This book might be a great choice for a motivated student who wants to know more about how the Civil Rights movement developed following Emmett's murder. Teachers can also use the primary source documents to emphasize for students the important role young people played in working against this injustice.
Weatherford, Carole Boston.
Honesdale, PA: Wordsong Press, 2007.
This is a picture book that tells the story of the Birmingham church bombing. It is full of photographs from the era and is both simple and extremely powerful.