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Dear America: With the Might of Angels Hardcover – September 1, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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A New Class (Star Wars: Jedi Academy #4)
Star Wars Jedi Academy
Victor Starspeeder is psyched to be starting school at the Jedi Academy. His sister, Christina does not share an enthusiasm for Victor's newfound educational path. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews


"More than a supplement to classroom textbooks, this series is an imaginative, solid entree into American history." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"An impressive series that will challenge students to make connections from prominent historical events to relevant life situations. . . . A wonderful asset to the classroom as well as to home libraries." -- CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW SERVICE

"Engaging accessible historical fiction." -- SLJ

"The Dear America diaries represent the best of historical fiction for any age." -- CHICAGO TRIBUNE

About the Author

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the author of many children's books, including the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, LET IT SHINE: STORIES OF BLACK WOMEN FREEDOM FIGHTERS; DUKE ELLINGTON, a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor Book; BOYCOTT BLUES: HOW ROSA PARKS INSPIRED A NATION; and most recently the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, SIT-IN: HOW FOUR FRIENDS STOOD UP BY SITTING DOWN. She lives in New York City, where she also works as a children’s book editor.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dear America
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545297052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545297059
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The newest in Scholastic's relaunch of its beloved Dear America series, this book by award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney tells the story of Dawnie Rae Johnson, a fictional twelve-year old Virginia girl who's the first to desegregate an all white school in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education.

Dawnie tells us she's always been blessed with the gift of gab, so a diary is a perfect birthday gift, especially prized since it was made by her little brother, Goober. It seems her dream is coming true when she finds out she's going to attend Prettyman Colburn, Hadley's white school, instead of the "colored" school, Bethune, where everything is broken, from the books to the toilets to the clocks. Dawnie's especially bright, and dreams of becoming a doctor one day, although she's never seen a colored doctor or nurse either. After passing an especially difficult test with flying colors, she's one of the students tapped by the NAACP to start the school integration process in their town.

Dawnie will need every bit of her courage and resolve, as she is confronted by demonstrations, small children spitting at her, adults calling her names, and police escorts needed just to get her into the school building. No one will talk to her, and she spends the first day in the principal's office. Dawnie writes in her diary, "By most counts, I'm a normal girl. But with the way those kids were staring at me today, you'da thought I was a bearded lady at the Lee County Carnival." But that's not her only problem, as her daddy loses her job when locals don't want to support a business that employs someone whose daughter is desegregating their schools. About the only people nice to her at school are the colored custodian and the lunch ladies, and Gertie Feldman, a Jewish student at the school.
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Format: Hardcover
In May 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in American public schools was unconstitutional in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Topeka. A pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement and American history, the decision was more than an ideological statement for the African-American students who now faced the halls of previously all-white schools alone.

The latest addition to the Dear America series, WITH THE MIGHT OF ANGELS: The Diary of Dawnie Rae Johnson, by Andrea Davis Pinkney, tackles this exciting and tense moment. Set in Hadley, Virginia in 1954, it is the fictional diary of a courageous young girl, the family who encouraged her and the community who supported her as she integrated into Prettyman Coburn, the school she had dreamed of attending.

Twelve-year-old Dawnie Rae Johnson enjoys playing baseball and is a huge fan of Jackie Robinson. She also loves school and hopes to be a doctor someday. The problem is, though she is at the top of her grade and confident in her intelligence, she knows the school she attends won't help her in getting to college and planning her future. The black-only school lacks the books, paper and facilities Dawnie realizes are necessary for a solid education. And, while this makes her sad and frustrated, she is surrounded by friends and caring teachers and is proud of being the best student there.

The chance to attend Prettyman Coburn seems like the answer to Dawnie, but when the opportunity finally arises, thanks to the Supreme Court's decision, it turns out to be far more complicated than she had ever imagined. The town of Hadley is divided, and even the members of Dawnie's church cannot agree on whether or not the school should be integrated.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 10 year old can and does read these stories herself, but she also sometimes likes me to read to her at bedtime. This story is one that she has requested more than once (so I've read it at least twice and my guess is she has read it at least 4 or 5 times.)
This particular book is special to me because it covers a period of time that I remember, though it is set slightly before my time, I attended public schools that were still in the early stages of integration and busing. This is not ancient history. I saw that so many African American students went through a lot just to get a good education. Even though the Dear America stories are composites and not actual biographies of individuals, they are well researched and this one rings true in every respect. It has lead to some good discussions with my daughter.
Beyond that, we both love the character of Dawnie. I'm not a literary critic, but she seems very "well rounded" to me. She's not saccharin sweet, yet I would love to have Dawnie as a friend. She's gutsy, funny, and poetic.
By the way, the quote in this review title is from my daughter.
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Format: Hardcover
Dawnie is a 12 year old African-American girl living in a small town in Virginia. Her town is strictly divided along color lines. She's forbidden by her parents to go to Ivorytown the white section of town but that doesn't stop her from dreaming about the brand new school there. Dawnie dreams of becoming a doctor and she knows that the stinky, falling down school and ancient tattered textbooks of her school won't help her achieve her dream. Dawnie keeps her dreams to herself, writing them down in her precious diary, a birthday gift from her autistic younger brother. Dawnie finishes 6th grade at the top of her class and spends the summer jumping on her Pogo stick and playing baseball but come fall, her life changes forever when the Supreme Court decides schools must be integrated. Dawnie has passed the competency exam proving she's smart enough to compete with the white kids so her parents give her permission to integrate. Dawnie hopes to share this experience with her best friend Yolanda and another child from their class, but only Dawnie's parents approve of integration. The decision to attend an all-white school causes a lot of stress for both Dawnie and her family. They meet with opposition from both the white and black communities. A young minister from Alabama visits Dawnie's church and encourages non-violent resistance and Dawnie learns that she can write down all her rage and hatred in her diary while studying hard to stay on top. Finally, she finds an unexpected ally and they challenge each other to pull through. This is a remarkable story of a fictional girl based on real life people and events that took place not that long ago. It's really eye opening to read the comments coming from the white community regarding their ignorant assumptions about African-Americans.Read more ›
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