Saturday, February 21, 2009

Middle School Historical Fiction

Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues by Harriette Gillem Robinet

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is excellent. Alfa is a 6th grader in 1956 Montgomery, Alabama. Alfa lives with his 15 year old sister Zinnia and their great-grandmother "Big Mama". They live in 2 room tar paper shack and need to find another 10 dollars for their rent. Alfa and his family are accused of stealing money from a "wealthy" white doctor's home. This book depicts quite realistically life for an African-American family during the 1950's. The bus boycott is 6 months old. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has just become pastor of the Dexter Ave church and Alfa is trying hard to "walk the walk" and "talk the talk" of nonviolence.

I'm currently reading this aloud to my 6th graders to help lay some background for their novel study of Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963. They are really engaged, and we've had some good discussions about segregation and the differences in lifestyle. They are having a tough time understanding "having to work" and having to put whatever money Alfa earns toward food and rent.

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