Tuesday, February 05, 2008


A Friendship for Today

by Patricia C. McKissack

McKissack has written a book set in the 1954/5 school year, the year Kirkwood, MO, decided to integrate their schools. Rosemary is the only black girl from her school to go to the new integrated school, because her best friend contracts polio right before school starts, and is away all year receivng treatment. So she faces it alone, at times angry, at times, lonely, and she finds her way. She earns the respect of her classmates little by little, a few at a time, and even finds a most unlikely friend in another girl looked down on by many others - a former enemy, no less! along the way, she both teaches and learns.

As usual, I love a good story of friendship, and the notes of hope and determination in Rosemary's voice make it all the better as she vows to stick it out adn show everyone, as she promises to have belief in her friend's recovery, and as she takes care of a nearly-dead cat until she is quite fine again. The book is based on many of McKissack's own memories, and it rings very true. It doesn't exaggerate the difficulties of being the outsider, and may even skip over or downplay some iof the potential meanness, but it's a great read, a wonderful story, and all the richer for the endnote that tells the reader that the author is someone who lived it herself. Good stuff.

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