Synopses & Reviews
Why has their grandmother bothered keeping a menu from a restaurant that closed years ago, a restaurant that never served very good food in the first place? Three cousins listen to Gee's own story, set in the early days of lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, a time when a black child could sit up front in a city bus but still could not get a milkshake at a downtown restaurant. Through the eyes of ten-year-old Abby, young readers see what it was like to live through those days and they'll come to understand that, like a menu, freedom is about having choices.
Each book in the series tells the story behind a different ‘scrap of time;' together they form a patchwork quilt of one black family's past that stretches back for generations.
"McKissack kicks off the engaging Scraps of Time series with this chapter book, which opens as cousins explore their grandmother Gee's attic, filled with 'scraps of time.' One such scrap, a menu from The Monkey Bar in Nashville, sparks Gee's memory of a pivotal episode in her childhood and in the American civil rights movement. Gee recalls the year 1960 when, as 10-year-old Abby, she is stunned to be turned away from the new restaurant, just because she is black. McKissack gives a clear sense of the racial tenor of the time: though blacks could now sit wherever they liked on busses, segregated schools and 'whites only' signs are still the reality. While her cousin organizes lunch-counter sit-ins, Abby passes out flyers advocating nonviolent protests; and after her cousin is arrested, the resolute girl takes her own stand, boldly drinking from a whites-only water fountain. McKissack has a keen sense of her audience: when, in the story's rewarding climax, Abby and her mother eat at the newly integrated Monkey Bar, Abby observes (after sampling the not-so-great food), 'I don't think the sit-ins were about the food. I think they were about having choices.' The author uses humor and universal experiences of childhood (Abby and her best friend love milkshakes and scary movies) to draw readers into the larger backdrop of history in the making. Back in the present, the cousins' discovery of another memento Gee's great-grandfather's Civil War medal sets the scene for the next tale. Ages 8-up. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The award-winning author begins a new series in which each book tells the story behind a different "scrap of time," which together form a patchwork quilt of one black family's past. In this first book, ten-year-old Abby describes what life was like for blacks living in Nashville in 1960.
About the Author
Gordon C. James also illustrates the Scraps of Time series by Patricia C. McKissack. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.