Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Ivy Ruckman and Sharon Draper

Read In Care of Cassie Tucker, which has been sitting on the shelves for a good nine years and has gone out twice. It would help to know that this is historical fiction. Not a bad book-- standard prarie circa 1900 story. Cousin comes to live with family when his parents die of cholera, complications ensue because his parents were "heathens". This will be read when classes do units on historical fiction, but there was nothing in the book that will compel children to check it out otherwise. Sorry to damn it with faint praise, but I don't know what else to say.

Perhaps it just paled in comparison to Draper's Fire From the Rock. Finally, there are books being written about the south during the Civil Rights movement that are not from the perspective of a 13 year old white girl. Like McKissack's A Friendship for Today, what makes this successful is that the main character, Sylvia, has other problems in her life, and they are set against the maelstrom of integration in Little Rock. Always an effective writer, Draper deftly weaves together interesting and diverse characters and makes us feel the ambivalence that Sylvia has about the events around her. Yes, she wants to go to the new school, but she doesn't want to leave her friends. Yes, advantages for blacks are good, but it the price too high.

This is an excellent historical novel, and would provoke lots of interesting class discussions.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad Mrs. Draper's books are as good as I would expect them to be. I was lucky enough to have her for 9th grade English at Walnut Hills and have always followed her writing career with pleasure! :-)
    --Kate Brownlowe