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A Friendship for Todayby Patricia C. Mckissack
Synopses & Reviews
From highly acclaimed, award-winning author Patricia McKissack comes a powerful, poignant, and timely tale of segregation, family, and one surprising friendship.
The year is 1954, the place is Missouri, and twelve-year-old Rosemary Patterson is about to make history. She is one of the first African American students to enter the white school in her town. Headstrong, smart Rosemary welcomes the challenge, but starting this new school gets more daunting when her best friend is hospitalized for polio. Suddenly, Rosemary must face all the stares and whispers alone. But when the girl who has shown her the most cruelty becomes an unlikely confidante, Rosemary learns important truths about the power of friendship to overcome prejudice.
"McKissack (Porch Lies) reaches into her own childhood to shape this immediate and affecting novel narrated by strong and smart Rosemary. She enters sixth grade in 1954, just after her Missouri town acts upon the Supreme Court school desegregation decision and closes the 'colored school' the girl has attended. Since her best friend, J.J., contracts polio just before school starts, Rosemary is the only black child in her class at her new school. Her first day, she wears a pink dress with lace, while the other kids have on pants and tennis shoes ('She looks like one of those dressed-up monkeys they have at the zoo,' a classmate says). And her assigned seat is right next to Grace, her neighborhood nemesis, who comes from a racist family ('They hate colored people and don't mind telling us'). The graceful narrative splices together several survival stories, as Rosemary copes with her peers' prejudice and her parents' disintegrating marriage, and J.J. endures grueling polio treatments. One of the tale's most poignant threads is the evolving friendship between Rosemary and Grace; in an especially incisive passage, after Grace confides that her abusive father believes white people are superior, Rosemary asks, 'You know better, don't you?' to which Grace answers 'Now I do.' Rosemary replies, 'That's what counts with me.' A real, at times raw tale about a winning and insightful young heroine during a bittersweet era. Ages 9-12. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In 1954 Missouri, 12-year-old Rosemary Patterson is about to make history as one of the first African-American students to enter the all-white school in her town. When the girl who has shown her the most cruelty becomes an unlikely confidante, Rosemary learns important truths about the power of friendship to overcome prejudice.
About the Author
Patricia and Fredrick McKissack are the authors of numerous award-winning books, including REBELS AGAINST SLAVERY: AMERICAN SLAVE REVOLTS and BLACK HANDS, WHITE SAILS: THE STORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN WHALERS, both Coretta Scott King Honor Books, and SOJOURNER TRUTH: AINT I A WOMAN? a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Patricia and Fredrick McKissack live in St. Louis, Missouri. John McKissack resides in Memphis, Tennessee.
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