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Celeste's Harlem Renaissance by [Tate, Eleanora E.]
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Celeste's Harlem Renaissance Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–In 1921, when her father is sent to a tuberculosis sanitarium, motherless 13-year-old Celeste takes the train from her home in Raleigh, NC, to Harlem, NY, to live with her glamorous Aunt Valentina. She soon finds herself scrubbing theater floors with Val and living in a windowless studio apartment. When Val lands a spot in the chorus of a groundbreaking Broadway musical, Celeste mixes with African-American celebrities until she is called back home to care for her abusive Aunt Society, who has suffered a stroke. This enjoyable story is crammed full of well-researched historical details. Celeste evolves from a wide-eyed, naive, bashful girl into a young woman unafraid to speak up for herself and follow her dream to be a doctor. Aunti Val is a self-absorbed yet charismatic woman struggling to make her way, too often at the expense of Celeste's needs. Tate deftly handles the complexities of their relationship. She draws her characters with charming humor and multidimensional candor. At times her tone is cloying, though, and the dialogue tends to lay on a Gee whiz! aspect with a heavy hand. She loads the book with references to real historical figures and events, sometimes to the detriment of narrative flow. The predictable plot aside, however, fans of historical fiction will stick with Celeste, eager to see her true blossoming at the end. Gail Carson Levine's Dave at Night (HarperCollins, 1999) is a faster-paced novel set during the Harlem Renaissance.–Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After her mother dies and her father falls ill, 13-year-old Celeste is sent to her aunt Valentina, a singer and dancer in Harlem. Leaving Raleigh, North Carolina, is hard, and once in New York City, she is upset to learn that her aunt isn't a famous performer after all. Barely scraping by, Valentina asks Celeste to scrub floors for money. The Harlem Renaissance has begun, though, and Valentina introduces Celeste to the many legendary artists who congregate at the local cafe. Then Celeste is called back to North Carolina to help care for an elderly aunt, and she meets her challenges with the strength, realism, and courage she discovered during her stay in New York. Celeste's encounters with famous African Americans often feel contrived, but readers will connect with her strong, regional voice ("I felt lower than a snail's tail"), her ambitions, and the enormous responsibilities she confronts at such a young age. Both sobering and inspiring, Tate's novel is a moving portrait of growing up black and female in 1920s America. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 642 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316523941
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (December 20, 2008)
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2009
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SHM3RS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,125 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A motherless teenager at thirteen, Celeste lives with her beloved, consumptive father and abrasive Aunt Society in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1921. Despite Aunt Society's extreme strictness and terrible cooking, CeCe's life is relatively happy. She has supportive friends and recognition for her school work. Although her circumstances are modest, CeCe is talented and ambitious. She plays a mean violin, which she calls "DeDe," and plans to become a doctor. Her only other close relative is an aunt who shows up periodically from what Cece believes is a glamorous existence in Harlem.

Cece's circumstances are worse than modest, they are exceedingly precarious. When her father is sent to a sanatorium, she is bundled off to New York to live with Aunt Valentina. Auntie meets her at the train station, but instead of taking her to a beautiful home, she takes her to a theater. This is not the expected theater where her aunt is a star. This is a theater where they both scrub the stage on their hands and knees until CeCe is so exhausted, she keeps falling down on the way to her aunt's tiny, windowless apartment. Her introduction to Harlem is harsh indeed. As a former companion to an opera singer,however, her aunt does know many of the people who are part of the Harlem Renaissance. Gradually, despite the grinding work, CeCe is introduced to them.

Filled with colorful characters - including Aunt Society - the author brings to vivid life a wonderful protagonist. CeCe seems absolutely real. She is ultimately presented with an ethical decision that would stagger a wise adult. Played out against the backdrop of the segregated south with its myriad oppressions and Harlem during the Renaissance period with its myriad chances, CeCe is influenced by both but overwhelmed by neither. A strong young heroine in a stellar story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story grabs and ignite your interest. This book is for all ages
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By JL on July 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Easy read
Enjoyed reading about black Americans an it's not about the hood or drug dealing. This is the story of someone's world expanding
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