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Books - To - Movies: Sounder and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Updated: Apr 26



As far as 'Jane Pittman,' I don't know that I could verbalize, to this day, what I felt once I got into that role. I did a tremendous amount of research. I need to feel as though I am in the person's skin.

-Cicely Tyson


This past week, we lost a significant African-American actress: Cicely Tyson. She passed away at the age of 96.


Why am I talking about an actress?


Cicely Tyson was not just an actress. She brought pivotal characters from such classic books as Sounder by William H. Armstrong and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines to life.


She also played Harriet Tubman in the TV series A Woman Called Moses in 1978.


She was the epitome of Girl Power!


Cicely Tyson should be talked about and admired for her accomplishments: She was nominated for the Academy of Award for Sounder and won the Emmy for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Those are two accomplishments from her long career.


As a young girl who was always reading, I never knew of Sounder or The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman until I saw Cicely Tyson on my television. I was a reader like I said, but Ms. Tyson and the rest of the cast drew me into these two stories on a visual level.


As we know, some young ladies are visual and auditory learners who struggle with reading a printed book, and the movie versions can help them.


I believe the Book - To - Movies that are considered classics can benefit all readers because, let's be real-- the classics can be boring to read. This is not an insult to any authors (especially Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Gaines). But, I am saying this as I look through the lens of our youth. They want excitement and immediate gratification.


There are some pitfalls to the Book - To - Movie genre. The pitfalls occur when the movie is not like the book, or there were some artistic choices that the film director made that veered off a little from the book.


If someone actually read the book and then watched the film to analyze both for a more in-depth discussion, they will surely be disappointed if the movie fails to be true to the book. But, to me, that can make the discussion more interesting.


This blog post serves as an introduction to sharing books that were adapted into movies.


I will be sharing more Books - To - Movies in the future.


In the meantime, if you have a chance to read the books and watch the films Sounder and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, please do so.


Sounder by William H. Armstrong


The Newbery Medal–winning classic novel about the courage and faith—and the love of a dog—that give a family strength in the face of inhumanity. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.


The boy knows that times are tough for his family. Every night, his father goes out hunting with their great coon dog, Sounder, to try to put food on the table. But even with the little they bring back, there is still never enough for the family to eat.