Title: Knockin' on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates
Author and Illustrator: Lynne Barasch
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Concepts: discrimination, jobs
Review: Clayton Bates, born into a sharecropping family in South Carolina in the early 1900s, hated farming but loved to dance. Nothing his mother did could stop him from walking into town to the barbershop to tap dance for the customers. She also discouraged Clayton from working in the local cottonseed mill when he was twelve, but Clayton was determined to switch from farm work to factory work.
Tragically, he lost his left leg after a terrible accident at the mill, but he did not lose his fierce determination and love of dancing. Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates emerged to become one of the country's most famous tap dancers, performing in front of white and black audiences and opening one of the first resorts in New York's Catskill Mountains to welcome African Americans. Knockin' on Wood makes an important contribution to children's literature by raising awareness of this remarkable and talented man.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children