About This BookEverything's changing for Sarah Beth Willis. After Robin's tragic accident, everyone seems different somehow. Days on the farm aren't the same, and the simple fun of riding a bike or playing outside can be scary. And there's talk in town about the new sixth-grade teacher at Shady Creek. Word is spreading quickly — Mrs. Smyre is like no other teacher anyone has ever seen around these parts. She's the first African American teacher. It's 1969, and while black folks and white folks are cordial, having a black teacher at an all-white school is a strange new happening. For Sarah Beth, there are so many unanswered questions. What is all this talk about Freedom Riders and school integration? Why can't she and Ruby become best friends? And who says school isn't for anybody who wants to learn — or teach? In a world filled with uncertainty, one very special teacher shows her young students and the adults in their lives that change invites unexpected possibilities.
The 411 by Maria:
This was a wonderful book for 3rd grade to 7th grade reading level.
Based loosely on the author's childhood Sarah is a middle schooler finishing up Summer before the start of 6th grade. When Sarah's little sister Robin gets hit by a car, something Sarah feels is all her fault the family must move in with their grandparents while Robin recover at the hospital. This isn't tough for Sarah, her best friend Ruby lives near by.
Sarah learns Ruby will be one of the first new black students in her school integration and is also excited to learn she is getting the first black teacher. The girls hope to remain friends as their aunt and grandmother have over the years. When Sarah blurts out a "racial slur" to her best friend the relationship changes and life will never be the same for these girls.
What I loved about this book the most was how the author mixes humor, heart, and valuable life lessons into a story about friendship and family. Friendship and family is one of the most fulfilling things about childhood and the relationships crafted by Shannon Hitchcock were beautiful. Ruby and Sarah's relationship is changing and maturing with the time and often gets confused by what they see in their own daily lives. In the end Sarah has the opportunity to prove to herself that she is brave and friendship can withstand changes.
Great book. I wrote questions down while reading for most of the chapters because I want my kids to read it and answer my questions by using the book. It's a wonderful family read and one I think would be beneficial as part of the literacy programs in school.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. My reviews are 100% honest and true based on my personal opinion not on a company’s description or request. No monetary compensation was offered or received.