Rose Blue, Corinne J. Naden, and Don Tate, Ron’s Big Mission

Posted October 26, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

A biographical story of prejudice in Lake City, South Carolina in 1959 and how it bit the dust!

The Story
Rolling out of bed, dressing as fast as he can, young Ron McNair has no time for breakfast, a free donut, or basketball. For Ron is on a mission. Determined to check books out of the library.

The problem is. Ron’s black. Only white people can check books out of the library.

The Characters
Ron is fascinated by planes and flying and after spending so much time at the library reading books there and not being able to check them out, Ron fully intends to reverse that.

All the white people Ron encountered both on his way to the library and at the library were really nice people. They wanted to help Ron get his books. As long as he didn’t make waves or try to check them out on his own. What’s with that? Why is it that, today, we can see how stupid this is? Why couldn’t we see it then? What will we see as stupid 10 years from now?

My Take
Prejudice is so stupid. I just loved that Ron was so excited about going to the library. Reading. Hey, I can relate! I couldn’t understand why Mrs. Fielding would offer to check his books out for him. Why couldn’t he check his own books out?? I mean, they even called the cops on the kid. Mrs. Scott, the librarian even considered Ron her best customer.

I think the authors did a great job in ramming this point home about this kid who is so excited about reading and what do “the authorities” do? Slap him down. Sur-r-r-e, that makes sense. NOT. I was so pleased to see that Mrs. Scott got smart and gave Ron his own library card. I mean, duh???

Great illustrations. Tate created a very homey feel to the story. I liked his use of oversized heads as I think it emphasized color. It ensured that the reader got that this was about what color people are.

The Cover
The cover is of young Ron standing on the playground outside the library dreaming of flying he stares up at the sky where a plane is flying overhead. The title is true enough as the story is all about Ron’s Big Mission both as a child in a segregated community and as one of the astronauts killed on the Challenger.

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