Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down

by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Author) Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

It was February 1, 1960.

They didn't need menus.

Their order was simple.

A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side. This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth's lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement.

Andrea Davis Pinkney uses poetic, powerful prose to tell the story of these four young men, who followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words of peaceful protest and dared to sit at the "whites only" Woolworth's lunch counter. Brian Pinkney embraces a new artistic style, creating expressive paintings filled with emotion that mirror the hope, strength, and determination that fueled the dreams of not only these four young men, but also countless others.

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Publishers Weekly

The latest collaboration by this husband-and-wife team (the Caldecott Honor book "Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra") recreates the renowned 1960 sit-in staged by four black college students at a Greensboro whites only lunch counter. The narrative incorporates a steady stream of food metaphors, noting that the students ignored the laws recipe for segregation (a bitter mix) replacing it the new brew of integration. Unfortunately, this device is more trite than moving (Their order was simple: A double dose of peace, with nonviolence on the side) and, at times, can come across as glib. Brief quotations by Martin Luther King Jr. appear in large, blocky text, emphasizing his influence on the actions of this quartet as well as those who followed their lead, staging sit-ins across the South. Brian Pinkneys sinuous watercolor and ink art conveys the solidity and determination of the activists as well as a building energy that grew out of their act of civil disobedience. A succinct civil rights time line and additional facts and suggested reading about the topic round out this account. Ages 6up. "(Feb.)" Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review
Gr 3-6 Through effectively chosen words, Andrea Pinkney brings understanding and meaning to what four black college students accomplished on February 1, 1960, by sitting down at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, NC. Her repeated phrase, "Their order was simple. A doughnut and coffee with cream on the side," along with other food metaphors, effectively emphasizes the men's determination to undo the injustices of segregation in a peaceful protest, which eventually led up to the 1966 Supreme Court ruling against racial discrimination. With swirling swabs of color that masterfully intertwine with sometimes thin, sometimes thick lines, Brian Pinkney cleverly centers the action and brings immediacy to the pages. Both the words and the art offer many opportunities for discussion. The book concludes with a civil rights time line and an update on the aftermath of the lunch-counter struggle."Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA" Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Andrea Davis Pinkney
Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than 20 books for children, including Bird in a Box and several collaborations with her husband Brian Pinkney, including Sit -In, Hand in Hand, and Martin & Mahalia. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.

Shane W. Evans is the illustrator of many books for young readers, including Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, which won a Coretta Scott King award, and Nobody Gonna Turn Me Round, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His website is
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
February 01, 2010
BISAC categories
JUV000000 - Juvenile Fiction | General
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
Civil rights movements
20th century
Civil rights
Race relations
Southern states
Black-Eyed Susan Award
Nominee 2011 - 2012
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2011 - 2011
Jane Addams Children's Book Award
Honor Book 2011 - 2011
Land of Enchantment Book Award
Nominee 2011 - 2012
Children's Book Committee Award
Winner 2011 - 2011
Parents Choice Awards (Spring) (2008-Up)
Gold Medal Winner 2010 - 2010
Finalist 2010 - 2010

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