Follow the Drinking Gourd

Oh, about a month ago I picked up an early reader from the library called The Drinking Gourd.  I didn’t have any real plans for the book.  Just thought *our* early reader might pick it up, and we could do a little something for Black History Month.  Well, it sat on the shelf all month long…until the toddler found it this morning.

Follow the Drinking Gourd

We read the book, and Nicolas was just taken with the story.  He asked if there was a movie of the book.  The first thing we found was a sing along version of the song.  Then we found a Reading Rainbow segment featuring the Drinking Gourd book by Jeannette Winter…whose work we love (the illustration above comes from her book).  Then we found a longer version narrated by the Penguin Movie Guy–that’s what the littles call Morgan Freeman.

All these stories made Nicolas start thinking.  He said he was unsure he’d try to escape if he were a slave.  He doesn’t like the idea of breaking the law.  So we talked a little about unjust laws.  And I started telling him what I could remember of the powerful anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  In the back of my mind, I was also thinking about the amazing Smithsonian article I read yesterday about the shameful history of segregation in Portland.

Nicolas asked if we could find the music for “Follow the Drinking Gourd.”  He wants to play it on his homemade banjo!


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