A Day for Rememberin’: Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day

Abrams. May 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419736308.
Gr 2-5–Henderson’s latest tells the story of the first Memorial Day celebration from the perspective of a young African American boy whose family has recently been freed following the Civil War. The boy longs to go with his father to help him refurbish a racecourse that was made into a prison for Union soldiers during the war. Finally, he is allowed to assist in painting the fence while the adults establish a graveyard for the fallen soldiers. Once the memorial is complete, the entire African American community in Charleston marches from their homes to the cemetery in a parade. Though the event is sad, it is also a celebration of the end of slavery. Cooper’s mixed-media illustrations beautifully depict the community’s emotions and their actions in creating a memorial. Soft colors gently envelop readers in the story. Back matter includes an author’s note, the roots of Decoration Day, a time line of the Civil War and Memorial Day, and a bibliography.
VERDICT An enchanting account of the first Memorial Day, this book is recommended for all collections.

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