Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Wednesday: Ludell

18528247Wilkinson, Brenda. Ludell
October 14th 2014 by Lizzie Skurnick Books
(first published October 1st 1975)

Ludell lives in rural Georgia with her grandmother, whom she calls "mama", since her own mother left her as a baby to pursue jobs in New York City. Mama works very hard to provide for the two of them, but keeps a very clean house herself, and makes sure that Ludell does well in school. Their community is very close knit, and help each other out. Ludell and her friend Ruthie Mae are in school together, and spend much of their time thinking about food, from the hot dogs the teachers take turns selling at lunch to the snacks Ruthie Mae gets on credit for a short bu glorious time before her credit is cut off. The two girls also are enthralled by blue jeans, and want some to wear to school, even though they think their sour teacher won't approve. Ludell wishes that her mother would come to visit, but is just as thrilled when she sends a television set, even if it is broken and it takes a long time to settle the insurance claim and get a new one. Ludell, who suffers from asthma, knows that there are discrepancies between how the white citizens live and the conditions that the black community labors under, but tries not to let those conditions get in the way of her learning and enjoyment of life.
Strengths: This gave an interesting look at life in Georgia right as the Civil Rights movement is heating up. I'm less than wild about the dialect, but it certainly adds a level of realism to the book. The details about school, stores, clothing, and even asthma treatments are very vivid and interesting. I think this is a valuable addition to a collection of culturally diverse books.
Weaknesses: There was not much of a plot to this, and a LOT of descriptions of food. Still, a good description of life at this time.

Here is the original cover(left), as well as the cover that came in my order.
Lizzie Skurnick Books have republished a lot of things I remember from my own middle school years, including  Norma Klein's Sunshine, which my best friend used in her prose and poetry speech. Quite the tear jerker. Now I just want to go read everything Klein ever wrote.

I think I'll pass on Norma Fox Mazer's Saturday, the 12th of October, though. Dear, dear woman; weird, weird book. For Livania, from
"After spending almost a year with cave people from an earlier time, a young girl is transported back to the present greatly changed, both by her experience and by the fact that no one believes her."  

I love time travel, but it was just ... odd. 


  1. What's so weird about the Mazer book? (I've never read it.)

  2. Dialect can be tough at times. That was what bothered me about The Help at first...but once you got into it, you realized it was necessary to set the mood and add realism to the story. If done correctly, dialect can strengthen a story rather than hurt it.

  3. I forgot to add--YAY Kellee! I've never been a "power that be" before, but I can't wait to send my book on to her.