Joyce is 15-years old with all the recognizable ups and downs of adolescence. She finally comes to terms with herself and others when she finds expression through dance though not the ballet she thought she wanted.
Bottle Cap Boys: Dancing on Royal Street
With bottle caps on the bottom of their shoes, two brothers have a tap dancing contest on the sidewalk. Animated, rhythmic language, filled with onomatopoeia is complemented by cartoon illustrations showing New Orleans and the warm relationship between the boys.
Catching the Wild Waiyuuzee
Who is the Wild Waiyuuzee peeping out from the bush? Can she escape Shemama the Catcher? Readers will soon figure out that it is a child and her mother playing an imaginative game before the child’s hair is plaited. Rhythmic language and energetic illustrations create a warm book to be shared over and over.
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
Clayton Byrd adores his grandfather, loves the jazz Cool Papa plays with the other bluesmen in the park; Clayton wants to be musician, too. But when Cool Papa Byrd dies suddenly, Clayton is overcome with grief. His mother who has never resolved her own childhood remains at arm’s length though his father attempts to reach the boy. Clayton tries to join the park bluesmen but instead finds a different kind of music with a gang of street kids in the New York subway. Likeable characters populate this fast-paced novel.
Gone Crazy in Alabama
Delphine is now twelve years old in this third (and final book) about her, and her younger sisters. The girls are sent to Alabama where they are supposed to come to know their grandmother, great grandmother, and other family members. Instead, the girls are caught up in a family feud and learn that adults, too, have issues. Things change radically when Vonetta goes missing during a tornado. Family history and sibling loyalty are strong themes in this engaging conclusion.
Like Sisters on the Homefront
Fourteen year old Gayle just can’t seem to stay out of trouble with her boyfriend. So Gayle and her baby are sent to Georgia to live with relatives. Especially her feisty, solitary great grandmother helps Gayle come to appreciate the importance of family, friendship and more in this gritty and memorable novel.
One Crazy Summer
Eleven year old Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, leave their native Brooklyn to visit their long-estranged mother in California. Cecile not warm towards her daughters, seemingly concentrating only on her poetry. Delphine narrates the first of three books which is set in Oakland, 1968. While on their own, the girls learn about the Black Panthers, how political movements impact individuals, and even how to reconnect with Cecile.
P.S. Be Eleven
Readjusting to life in Brooklyn is tough after One Crazy Summer with their mother in California. Delphine and her sisters not only have to deal with their strict grandmother, their uncle has just returned from Vietnam a changed man, and their father has a new love interest. The 1960s come alive in this memorable novel sure to be embraced by those who know Delphine and her family as well as those just meeting them for the first time.
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