Monday, January 03, 2022

MMGM- When Winter Robeson Came

It's
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
 at 
and #IMWAYR day 
at 
and 


Happy New Year! I'm never great at celebrations, but am sending everyone virtual cake today. For the last ten years, since my post on 2 January 2012, I have posted at least one book review every single day. Over the last few years, I haven't posted reviews for every book I read because blog followers thought that was too many books to keep track of. 

It feels like there should be a party. (*Blows noisemaker*) Or, you know, recognition by the president. 

Woods, Brenda. When Winter Robeson Came
January 11th 2022 by Nancy Paulsen Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Eden's family has recently moved from the South to Los Angeles, and while she enjoys the better social conditions for Black people, she misses the slow pace of life in her old town. When her cousin Winter comes to visit in the late summer of 1969, she's glad to see him. The two plan some fun outings, but Winter also wants to find his father, who went missing a number of years ago. They have an address in Watts, and manage to meet some people who have some knowledge of others who might have more information. Since it's 1969, the two speak at length to the elderly Betty West, exchange phone numbers, and are able to follow up. Winter does have some luck trying to locate his father, J.T., but as the Watts Rebellion heats up, Eden and Winter are very close to the neighborhood where there is civil unrest. They are able to help, despite being told by Eden's working parents that they are to stay in the house, 
Strengths: The 1960s are such a rich yet unexplored time period in middle grade literature, and this was a great way to cover the topic. Other than English's 2017 It All Comes Down to This, I can't think of another book about the Watts Rebellion. Like English, Woods was young and living not far from Watts when this occurred, so has a passing knowledge and emotional connection to the events. Winter's experience trying to locate his father further reinforces the treatment of Blacks by society. White and Black flight from Eden's neighborhood is portrayed, and the Watts Towers are discussed briefly. Their appearance on the cover is fantastic. The best part of this, for me, was the small details of every day life, like the family's outfits when they dress up for a party, the food they eat at a beach picnic, and the freedom with which Eden and Winter roam their neighborhood and connect with people who might have known his father. 
Weaknesses: Eden is portrayed as having a significant interest in music, but this was somehow easy to forget, so when she would describe a situation in musical terms, it would surprise me. Since this is a novel in verse (and a short one at that), there was a lot of information that I would have liked to have seen included. It would also be great to see a short nonfiction book on the Watts Rebellion, but I haven't been able to locate one. 
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and would love to see more fiction books covering Black history. I am still waiting for a book about busing in Cleveland in the 1970s.

11 comments:

  1. Congratulations! You deserve to celebrate. I certainly would enjoy knowing how you read and review so many books -- it boggles my mind. And, I love how your reviews are related to your students in some manner.
    I didn't know about the Watts Rebellion. Thanks for including the article. This sounds like an important read! Busing was a big issue in Dayton too in the 1970s -- although I didn't live here. Friction between the east and west side of Dayton, separated by the Great Miami River. The bridge crossing it now has been the site of many peace rallies on MLK Day and has now called the Peace Bridge. Thanks for sharing this book today!

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  2. Congratulations on the many, many daily reviews, Karen. I wish you a grand celebration! Thanks for sharing this one, a new one to me!

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  3. This one sounds good. I love pretty much anything to do with history! I will have to check it out...

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  4. Wow—congrats on your 10-year blogiversary! And I am always amazed that you read so much that you share every single day and STILL don't review everything you read—I always appreciate all of your thoughtful recommendations! I made note of When Winter Robeson Came—I saw another recommendation of it on #IMWAYR, and it sounds great. Thanks so much for the great review, Karen, and happy new year!

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  5. I'm adding this one to my list, for sure. I agree that there aren't many middle grade books set in the 1960s. Looking forward to reaindg this one. Thanks, Karen!

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  6. You convinced me to add this one. I requested it on Edelweiss as well. Novel in verse readers at my school could wear out my budget. They finish them so fast. So long and thanks for all the cake...

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  7. A book review for every day for ten years is quite an accomplishment! Definitely cake-worthy!

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  8. A book review every day for this length of time is amazing. Imagine confetti, flashing lights, and marching bands coming from me. Thanks for another compelling review today.

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  9. I've seen this covered at another imwayr blog post and I will definitely check if we have this on order at the store.

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  10. The very least Joe Biden could do is recognize your work. Maybe there is a presidential medal of reading he could award you. This book sounds great. Yes, I think the 1960s have been largely overlooked in MG fiction. I might have to write one! Thanks for the post.

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  11. So grateful for all your reading and writing!

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