All Aboard the Schooltrain: A Little Story from the Great Migration

Scholastic. Jan. 2023. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338766899.
Gr 2-5–In a story straight out of history, Thelma and her family love to watch trains pass through her hometown of Vacherie, LA, and she longs to be a passenger on one of the trains one day. As the end of summer looms, Thelma finds solace in knowing she can get back on the “schooltrain” once third grade begins. The day finally comes and Thelma, her cousins, and her friends all form the schooltrain—a single line—with everyone playing roles as the passengers, caboose, or engineer as they walk to school. Each day, rain or shine, the schooltrain passes through town, picking up friends along the way as the kids chant “Schooltrain! Schooltrain! Don’t be late! The school bell rings at half past eight!” The story moves along as Thelma and her classmates try to embrace school life as it is very different from their white neighbors. The students enjoy classic stories and use their imaginations as they absorb all they can from an education with limitations. Sadly, one day Thelma’s best friend is forced to move to Minnesota where her daddy is relocated to find a new job. Will Thelma’s family be next? Morris’s pictures illustrate unique images with rigid lines and deep hues of brown and rusty orange that perfectly capture the somber times of segregation.
VERDICT This is a beautiful story that teaches courage and offers readers a glimpse into the daily life of a Black family. This picture book would pair well with a history lesson on Civil Rights and the Jim Crow laws.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing