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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction to civil rights, January 9, 2006
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"Abby Takes A Stand" provides a wonderful way to bring the civil rights movement to life for intermediate grade elementary school children. The novel begins in the present day with Abby in the attic with her grandchildren. One of children discovers an old menu from The Monkey Bar, which sets up the main story.

Abby is ten years old and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. On a trip to a local department store with her mother, Abby explores the store on her own for a few minutes and is given a flyer advertising a new restaurant, The Monkey Bar, by a man dressed in a monkey costume (who has just arrived from NJ and is unaware of the segregation that plagues the area at this time). Abby decides to visit the Monkey Bar, only to be confronted with cruelty from the patrons and customers when she tries to enter.

This event sparks Abby's interest making a difference by joining the Flyer Brigade to support the local nonviolent protest of the injustice she has surfaced first hand. Her college-aged cousin, his girlfriend, and his friends are involved the protest in a more active way which is illustrated toward the end of the novel.

The novel ends with Abby's grandchildren understanding the deep significance of the Monkey Bar menu and the importance of the fight her grandmother took for equal rights for all Americans.

This book has vocabulary and concepts appropriate for grades 4-6, and is printed with larger font size to allow easier reading for emergent novel readers. It is "fleshed out" with short historical sections: "Remembering How It Was" and "The Rules For Nashville Sit-ins". I plan to read it to my fourth grade class in preparation for the upcoming MLK holiday. Highly recommended.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-4-Grandmother's attic is full of family mementoes that, as Gee tells young cousins Mattie Rae, Aggie, and Trey, are all "scraps of time." A menu from the Monkey Bar restaurant is the basis for this story, which begins with 10-year-old Abby (Gee) in Nashville, TN, in 1960. One day, she wanders around a downtown store as her mother makes an exchange. Someone hands her a flyer advertising a new restaurant with a merry-go-round ride in it, and she decides to go see it. Unfortunately, Abby causes quite a stir when she arrives there. "And you know we don't serve Negroes in here. Have you forgotten your place?" snaps the manager. Abby becomes a civil rights activist as a member of the Flyer Brigade, handing out flyers about nonviolent protest. The story ends with the return to present time and the cousins and Gee looking at other keepsakes, which is the perfect set-up for the next book in the series. Sections entitled "Remembering How It Was" and "The Rules for the Nashville Sit-ins" round off the book. This easy chapter book, with simple sentences, plenty of white space, and a liberal sprinkling of Gordon's expressive black-and-white drawings, is an appealing and welcome title.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. The Scraps of Time series uses family keepsakes as an entre to one black family's past. In this book, Grandma Gee (Abby) has saved a menu from the Monkey Bar Grill in Nashville, and her granddaughters settle in for the story. The action moves back to 1960, when Abby was 10. Although some strides had been made in civil rights, Abby still can't eat at the new circus-themed restaurant in Harvey's Department Store. McKissack does a particularly good job portraying Abby's humiliation and anger when she is ordered to leave the restaurant--after being handed a flyer inviting her in by an unknowing northern white teenager who was working at the store. Those turbulent emotions find a positive channel as she helps an older cousin who is involved with lunch counter sit-ins and demonstrations. Although short and simply told, the book gives readers a kid's-eye view of important happenings and reminds them that history is something that is always in the making. Fine black-and-white art adds to the ambience of the time. Ilene Cooper

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Publisher's Book Description

Why has their grandmother bothered keeping a menu from a restaurant that closed years ago, a restaurant that never served very good food in the first place? Three cousins listen to Gee's own story, set in the early days of lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville, a time when a black child could sit up front in a city bus but still could not get a milkshake at a downtown restaurant. Through the eyes of ten-year-old Abby, young readers see what it was like to live through those days and they'll come to understand that, like a menu, freedom is about having choices. Each book in the series tells the story behind a different `scrap of time;' together they form a patchwork quilt of one black family's past that stretches back for generations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2008 Sequoyah Title Takes On Civil Rights Issue, March 11, 2008
This review is from: Abby Takes a Stand (Scraps of Time) (Paperback)
SCRAPS OF TIME 1960: ABBY TAKES A STAND is the first of a series of juvenile novels by Patricia McKissack. A group of kids help their grandmother explore the contents of her attic and find scraps of memories. As each scrap is found, the grandmother, Gee, tells a story from her childhood and from the childhoods of other family members that exposes how differently today's world is from the one she grew up in.

McKissack is the author of several novels for young readers. Besides chapter books, she's also written several picture books. Her subject matter ranges from serious to humorous, from realistic to historical to fantasy.

This first book of the three-book series is on the 2008 Children's Sequoyah Masterlist. The story details the sit-ins the black community had to stage in Nashville, Tennessee to end segregation in the city. Although the story is deliberately kept small, I read the story to my son and he had no problem seeing the bigger picture as well as all the problems the black families faced while striving for equality.

McKissack's language is simple, direct, easy-to-read, and emotional. Through just a handful of family members, the fear and outrage is quickly and efficiently shown to the reader.

Abby's story is compelling to any parent or child. When she mistakenly ends up in a WHITES ONLY restaurant called the Monkey Bar, she's treated horribly by the white people there. Parents can easily know what it must have felt like by imagining how their child would have felt under similar circumstances. And kids can instantly identify with Abby at being left out of something and told she wasn't allowed to do something.

The book is only 100 pages long, with big print and illustrations by Gordon James that are equally emotional. We read it in a couple sittings without straining ourselves. I grew up in this time period in Southern Oklahoma, so a lot of what McKissack writes about was familiar to me. It's amazing to think how much things have changed in that time period, and that our children will never really know what those times were like.
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Abby Takes a Stand (Scraps of Time)
Abby Takes a Stand (Scraps of Time) by Fred McKissack (Paperback - December 28, 2006)
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