Book Love for The Big Day by Terry Lee Caruthers, Illustrated by Robert Casilla


I was pleased to have the opportunity to provide a review for The Big Day by Terry Lee Caruthers, and illustrated by Robert Casilla, in honor of Multicultural Children's Book Day.

The story is powerfully told in words from Caruthers, and would make a wonderful read aloud or shared reading for younger readers, as well as an independent read. I can even see this book as a powerful site for literacy development and cultural discussion for olders readers as an introduction to a unit or prelude to a longer text.

The watercolor work of Robert Casilla adds another layer of beauty to the book, and the cover image is one of my favorites. 

The Big Day tells the story of an African American woman who is able to vote for the first time, and is told through the lens of a young girl, Tansy. The book is based on the life of Agnes Sadler, the first Black woman to cast a vote in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the author's researched note at the end shows the historical background through photographs and added textual details.

Though the book is a window for me into the intersections of someone else's experience, I appreciated the beauty of this text, the historical importance of its narrative, and its potential for sharing a valuable story widely. Though I lived in Tennessee for seventeen years, I never had the chance to teach about Sadler's experience.

The Big Day is a resource I know I would use if I had the chance to do so now, and I'll be sharing it with students soon.