Young Emmarene is thrilled when she finds out that her favorite singer Bessie Smith is coming to town, but she is too poor to buy a ticket. So when she’s sure no one is looking, she sticks her head under the tent flap and watches the show. From Emmarene’s unique vantage point she can see both outside and in, so she’s the first to spot the KKK (known as the Night Riders), and rushes to warn Bessie, who, in trademark style, proceeds to take care of business. Bessie Smith and the Night Riders is an empowering true story about standing up for what’s right. Readers will cheer for Bessie and Emmarene right up to their final bow.
“This tale of courage would make a fine addition to units on the Civil Rights movement.” —School Library Journal
“…a well-wrought account of a heroic moment in black history. It also carries a strong message of empowerment.” —Austin American Statesman
“…kids will enjoy the story of a strong woman scaring off bad guys.” —Booklist
“…a terrific recounting of an actual event.” —Teaching Pre-K 8
“…dramatic and colorful acrylic paintings are rich in cultural themes and provide a fitting backdrop to the well-told story.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Souled Out” the Musical
In order to help contemporary singers understand the beauty and significance of the blues music of Bessie Smith, Sue produced a musical based on this picture book. See video below and learn more about the project here!