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These Hands


These Hands

Alethea Allarey

Official Links


Written by Margaret H. Mason

Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010


Joseph’s grandpa’s hands can still teach a young fellow how to tie his shoes, play the piano, do card tricks, or hit a line drive. But because they weren’t allowed to touch bread dough in the factory where he worked, “these hands joined with other hands,” writing petitions and demonstrating, until their proud hands could finally touch the bread dough. And Joseph, too, can do lots of things with his hands, now, all by himself, including baking “a fine loaf of bread.” A refrain of “yes, you can” unites the free verse poetry of Mason’s text.

Meet the Author

Margaret H. Mason learned about the Detroit Wonder Bread factory’s discriminatory policies in the 1950s and ‘60s from an old friend and Bakers Union stalwart whose voice still trembled thirty years later when he talked about the humiliation the workers endured at the bakery. The author lives in Ferndale, Michigan. Also by Margaret H. Mason: Inside All, Dawn Publications, 2008. Visit her at 


  • Can you think of a time when you were not allowed to do something, or participate in an activity because of a particular physical characteristic? How did you feel? What did you do about it?
  • Name three things an older adult has taught you how to do. Name three things you have taught someone else how to do.
  • What is your favorite story your grandparents have told you about themselves?


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