D Foster showed up a few months before Tupac got shot that first time and left us the summer before he died. The day D Foster enters Neeka and her best friend’s lives, the world opens up for them. D comes from a world vastly different from their safe Queens neighborhood, and through her, the girls see another side of life that includes loss, foster families and an amount o
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really liked it
One of my themes in reading this year has been to find quality books for my children. Even at a library, books featuring either magical princesses and fairies or sports stand out. Kids fall into the trap of only reading books that mesh with their social upbringing. My quest has lead me to both classic and contemporary books. Over the summer I discovered Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson has been writing poetic prose for the last twenty years and has won multiple awards for her prose. After Tupac and D
Our narrator measures time from before and after D came to the neighborhood and when Tupac was shot. Even though our narrator and her best friend Neeka live in wholesome environments, they could relate to Tupac’s music because various lines in his songs spoke to them individually. He had been one of them once, and all the teenagers in the neighborhood listened to his music either on the radio or through Walkmans. The day he was shot, time appeared to have stopped, and the characters knew where they were when they found out about Pac.
Life went on for the narrator, Neeka, and D. They went from precocious adolescents jumping double Dutch to gangly teenagers trying to test their parents’ limits. This book is not without its take on society. Woodson addresses treatment of gays in the black community as well the percentages of black males in prison. Additionally, the “be like Mike” culture has permeated black urban communities as Neeka’s older brother used a basketball scholarship as a means to get out of poverty. Even though this novel is geared toward middle grade readers, Woodson includes many social issues that make the book appropriate for adult readers as well.
I enjoyed this novel as it showed girls in a warm, friendly relationship devoid of conflict and competition. Jacqueline Woodson has been writing her poetic novels for twenty years and I am glad that I unearthed her writing this year. This is the third of her books that I have read recently and each story is more poetic than the last. A poignant book that addresses many of the current social issues of its time, I rate it a solid 4 stars. Appropriate for middle grade readers and the entire family.