Synopses & Reviews
Class with Miss D. gives the students at Pleasant Hill Elementary the confidence they need to move on to their new school. The third-graders are sad that this will be their last year at Pleasant Hill Elementary before their school is torn down. Poems narrated in the voices of five different students—Dawn, Kayla, Jonathan, Anthony, and Carmen—relate the events of their last year together with their teacher, Miss D. The year is busy as the students, each facing a challenge at home, prepare to put on a play, take field trips to a local farm, and do experiments in the science lab. They are studying the Civil War and key figures in the civil rights movement. When the students go to a play in a real theatre, they are kicked out for no good reason. Miss D. helps the students write letters to the theater manager, demanding to know why they weren't allowed to see the play. Is it because their skin is black?
"In a spare, eloquent novel in verse illustrated with her own bold block prints, Cheng (Marika) captures the moods of five inner-city third-graders as they prepare themselves for their school's impending demolition. A sense of loss prevails, but other emotions jealousy, indignation, pride and love percolate as the five narrators deal with personal issues at school and at home. Using very few words, the author conveys complicated back stories: Jonathan, for example, can't go home with his friend, and his friend 'can't come to my house, either./ I used to have a house/ before my little brother Caleb/ set the mattress on fire/.... He wanted to dry out the sheets/ before anyone saw.' She also evokes the children's innocence and shared affection for their teacher, Miss D., who instills in them a strong sense of justice, especially after they are falsely accused of spitting from a theater balcony. Mixing sad and uplifting images occurring between the fall and spring of a school year, these poems pay tribute to hard-working educators and children learning to overcome obstacles and accept unwelcome changes. Ages 6-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
* "A spare, eloquent novel in verse. . . . These poems pay tribute to hard-working educators and children learning to overcome obstacles and accept unwelcome changes." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Cheng's free-verse poems give voice to the children, allowing them to speak their hopes, frustrations and fears. . . . There is no rising or falling action, simply the opportunity to get to know these third graders as complete and distinct individuals." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"An inspirational tool for creative writing as well as a way to approach civil rights and social issues to the younger grades." --Library Media Connection
About the Author
Andrea Cheng teaches English as a Second Language in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lives with her husband and their three children. She has written many books for young people, including the novels Marika, The Lace Dowry, and Eclipse and Tire Mountain, a picture book.