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In this quasi-mystery set during the 1956 Montgomery bus boycott, 12-year-old Alfa relies on the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. to get through some strange times. PW said this novel "may well inspire readers to discover more about this important chapter in civil rights history." Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Grade 5-8-Six months into the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956, resourceful 12-year-old Alfa Merryfield, his older sister Zinnia, and his devoted grandmother, Big Mama, walk everywhere, pooling their meager wages to pay the rent on their tar-paper home. When their money begins disappearing, the siblings are determined to solve the mystery and to keep their home. Struggling to make ends meet, they take a house-cleaning job that leads to accusations of theft. Persevering and observant, Alfa solves this second mystery, confronts the white establishment with the truth, and saves his home. In the process, he discovers that financial and domestic troubles can be found in the homes of whites as well as "coloreds." He also discovers that his own estranged, drug-addicted mother has been secretly extorting their precious rent money from Big Mama. Local echoes of the civil-rights era permeate the story. Alfa feels the pain of injustice when white boys steal his wages, his longtime grocery-store boss fires him for being implicated in a theft, and guards threaten and beat him for attempting to use the local library. And yet, with idealism and personal conviction, he rises above these abuses and proves to himself and the "System" that through nonviolence and persistence, truth can prevail. Despite the emphasis on racial inequities, both black and white characters are shown as vulnerable and capable of change. Ingredients of mystery, suspense, and humor enhance and personalize this well-constructed story that offers insight into a troubled era.
Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I have used this as a novel unit the past 3 years with my fifth grade students. They love it and come to school in the morning admitting that they read ahead because they couldn't... Read morePublished on April 9, 2009 by Carole E. Sand
The book tells the story of the Montgomery bus boycott through the eyes of a young teen. The author did a wonderful job of putting the reader into that time and place. Read morePublished on October 25, 2005 by LonestarReader
Walking to the Bus-Rider-Blues
Alfa is a small town boy living in Alabama. He lives his life day in and day out worrying about the rent money. Read more