Saturday, August 22, 2009

Historical fiction perfect for today!


I finished Patricia McKissack's A friendship for today...today. I picked this one from our Scholastic Book Fair last year because it looked like an interesting historical fiction choice for 4-5th graders. McKissack's main character, Rosemary is smart yet struggles with the issues of the day like is it okay for her to let her best friend, J.J. (a boy!) beat her in a race just because the other boys are watching. Her parents are not much help as they argue about a woman's independence over dinner. Both her parents want Rosemary to remember that she's as good as anybody but also not better. Brown vs. Board of Education has just passed and Rosemary's colored school is closing and she will be transferred to Robertson Elementary, integrated into a previously white school. Right before the beginning of school, J.J. contracts polio and is hospitalized. Now Rosemary will be the only integrated student in her 6th grade classroom. It's very difficult being the only one but with the help of some hard-earned friends, a progressive principal and a very positive teacher Rosemary makes it through the year. This is an easy read and one that will really help 3-5th graders understand this very important era of change in our history. Reading the author's note at the end it is made clear why this story is such a believable one as Ms. McKissack experience this same 6th grade year right outside St. Louis, MO!

Find a great article about Patricia McKissack here at the Brown Bookshelf.

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