Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Long Ride

Budhos, Marina. The Long Ride
September 24th 2019 by Wendy Lamb Books
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Jamila, Francesca and Josie all live in the Cedar Gardens neighborhood of Queens, New York in 1971. For the coming school year, their neighborhood, which is largely white, will be bused to a school which is largely people of color. Since the girls are all racially mixed and somewhat unusual in their neighborhood, Jamila is interested in going to a school where she doesn't stand out for a change, even if her father is concerned about sending his daughter to a "bad" neighborhood. Before school starts, Francesca announces that she will be attending a private school, and this is yet another change. Jamila has a fairly good experience at her new school, although some teachers and other students are mean, and she is very concerned that the much quieter Josie is no longer in the accelerated classes because of her test scores. She starts hanging out with John, who is Black, and this causes some of the other girls to tell her she should stay with her "own" race. Jamila wants to hang out with John outside of school, but her family doesn't want her to be in his neighborhood. When he and his friend, Darren (who is interested in Josie) visit Jamila's neighborhood, they run into trouble. It's a difficult situation to navigate, and at the end of the school year, the busing is discontinued.
Strengths: Finally! I've been waiting and waiting for a book on busing. Interestingly, this is similar to Sharon Robinson's story in her new Child of the Dream, in that the two girls being sent to another neighborhood were not white, which is an interesting twist. There is plenty of middle school drama with the girls, with Francesca being a little more daring and Josie being a lot less daring, and Jamila just trying to figure out how to get along at school, at home, and with her friends. I always enjoy this author's work, so was thrilled to see this one.
Weaknesses: There could have been a little more discussion about busing and civil rights during this period of history. There was something about the first few chapters that I found a little confusing, and I know that my students don't have much background knowledge about this time period. I personally would have liked more period details (think Hood's Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.)
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, but I wish the cover showed actual 1970s fashions. Pretty sure no one under the age of 70 wore skirts that long, and I know in Ohio, girls could only wear slacks to school in the winter!

There are reasons I don't normally wear narrow skirts-- it's a good thing I had leggings under this when I biked to work! Also, the weather has decided to finally become fall like, so I added a red jacket.
Ms. Yingling

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