Perfect Picture Book Friday: OPENING THE ROAD: Victor Hugo Green and the Green Book PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends. I’ve always loved road trips. When my husband and I were first married, we were both teachers, and with the summer ahead of us, we’d plan a road trip. Twice we went cross-country…and many times we drove up to Canada or down to Washington, DC. We worried about money. We worried about weather. But we didn’t worry about whether it would be safe for us to be in a certain town after dark. And we didn’t worry about finding a place to eat or sleep. That’s because we were white. Traveling back in the day wasn’t so easy for people of color. In fact, it could be downright dangerous. Then Victor Hugo Green created the Green Book.


Written by Keila V. Dawson

Illustrated by Alleanna Harris

Published by Beaming Books (January 26, 2021)

Ages: 5-9

Themes: Discrimination, ingenuity, equality

Synopsis: From Amazon:

“Hungry? Check the Green Book. Tired? Check the Green Book. Sick? Check the Green Book.”

In the late 1930s when segregation was legal and Black Americans couldn’t visit every establishment or travel everywhere they wanted to safely, a New Yorker named Victor Hugo Green decided to do something about it. Green wrote and published a guide that listed places where his fellow Black Americans could be safe in New York City. The guide sold like hot cakes! Soon customers started asking Green to make a guide to help them travel and vacation safely across the nation too. With the help of his mail carrier co-workers and the African American business community, Green’s guide allowed millions of African Americans to travel safely and enjoy traveling across the nation.

In the first picture book about the creation and distribution of The Green Book, author Keila Dawson and illustrator Alleanna Harris tell the story of the man behind it and how this travel guide opened the road for a safer, more equitable America.

Why I love this book:

  1. A story of ingenuity and courage – Victor Hugo Green was a simple ordinary man who did something extraordinary – something that helped many – he was a visionary!
  2. The text is so well-written – lyrical and full of drama – and true!
  3. The illustrations are fabulous – Alleanna Harris is pure genius!


Make a road map or neighborhood map with your children. For detailed instructions:

Here are some important talking points about the book:

  1. Tells the virtually unknown story of Victor Green’s contribution to history 
  2. Fresh material for Black History Month
  3. Introduces children to another “hidden figure” in the fight for social justice in the United States
  4. Accessible and engaging material for lessons on civil rights
  5. Great foray into lessons on equity and equality for young learners
  6. Engaging facts and additional information about The Green Book and Victor Green are included in the book
  7. Illustrated timeline of historical events about travel as the civil rights movement unfolded in the United States
  8. Ties in to national trend of inspiring nonfiction picture books
  9. Perfect for home, school, and library collections

This is a much-needed book because it opens our eyes to how things were in this country not that long ago…and we realize that although laws have been passed prohibiting discrimination – and the doors of hotels and restaurants are open to people of all colors, there are still many hearts that are closed. We can do better. We must do better.

I’m so excited for this book – I saw early drafts of it and can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands. And one of you lucky people has the opportunity to WIN a copy, thanks to the generosity of author Keila Dawson. Just leave a comment below – maybe you can tell us your favorite road trip destination – and then share share share on social media for extra tickets in the giveaway hat. The book launches January 26, 2021 and is available for Pre-Order. You can also put it on your Want-To-Read Shelf on Goodreads and review it. Then tell all your friends about it and ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection.

If you’d like to find out more about Keila and her amazing books:

Keila V. Dawson is co-editor of NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY, along with Lindsay H. Metcalf and Jeanette Bradley, illustrated by Bradley (Charlesbridge, September 2020) and the forthcoming NO WORLD TOO BIG:YOUNG PEOPLE FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE also with Lindsay H. Metcalf and Jeanette Bradley, illustrated by Bradley (Charlesbridge, Spring 2023). She is the author of THE KING CAKE BABY, illustrated by Vernon Smith (Pelican Publishing 2015) and the forthcoming OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK, illustrated by Alleanna Harris (Beaming Books, January 2021). Dawson is a New Orleans native, has lived and worked in the Philippines, Japan, and Egypt and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Find her on TwitterInstagram,  Pinterest, or her website.

For more wonderful picture book reviews, hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book link up.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Tomorrow, Saturday, December 5th at Noon-1:30pm Eastern time, I’ll be presenting on the 21st Century Nonfiction Panel of Picture Book Palooza – hope some of you will be tuning in.

50 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: OPENING THE ROAD: Victor Hugo Green and the Green Book PLUS Giveaway

  1. Pingback: Opening The Road Reviews - Keila V. Dawson

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