From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10-Seventeen "growing up" stories by noted black writers from the U.S., the Caribbean, Central America, England, Africa, and Australia. All feature young people confronting a reality, discovery, or decision that gives them insight into the adult world. The stories are told from an ethnic perspective; characters, settings, situations, and language reveal life in particular parts of the world. And yet the themes-friendship, heartbreak, sacrifice, betrayal, love, and courage-are universal. In Njabulo Ndebele's "The Test," Thoba wrestles with peer pressure, fear, and exhaustion when he sprints on a dare through the cold South African rain. On a humiliating visit to a welfare office, Minerva learns a lesson in dignity and pride (Paulette Childress White's "Getting the Facts of Life"). In Barbara Burford's "Dreaming the Sky Down," overweight Donna fantasizes escape from the mockery of her peers and teachers through vivid dreams of weightlessness. Witness to his mother's angst when she hopes to turn a telephone acquaintance into a boyfriend, Tommy realizes that the woman doesn't always know what she's doing (Clarence Major's "My Mother and Mitch"). The adolescent protagonists are well drawn, and their coming-of-age stories offer meaningful anecdotes on coping with, adapting to, and interpreting life's experiences. The book includes brief biographical information on each of the writers. Contemporary, educational, and enriching.Gerry Larson, Chewning Middle School, Durham, NC
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. Bolden has collected 17 stories that focus on what it's like to grow up black, mainly in the U.S. but also in Africa, Australia, Britain, the Caribbean, and Central America. Toni Cade Bambara writes a moving story of a junior-high girl whose competitiveness is offset by her tenderness toward her older, mentally disabled brother. Cecil Foster tells a searing tale set in Barbados, in which a boy learns from his grandmother a hard lesson about compromising oneself to survive. In South African Njabulo Ndebele's "Test," a boy on the fringes of a group discovers the courage to be reckless and the strength to endure. Though the protagonists are all young people of African descent and that's where the main appeal lies, many of the pivotal events in their lives have a universality that will speak to most YAs. Sally Estes