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Hope (Picture Books) Hardcover – November 1, 1998
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3In this beautifully told and illustrated book, a young girl learns the story behind her name and to be proud of her biracial heritage. When her great-aunt Poogees friend asks if the child is mixed, Poogee says Baby, dont you pay Violet no never mind. But, of course, Hope does. That night at bedtime, Poogee explains to her that she is generations of faith mixed with lots of love. The lively, expressive full-page oil paintings depict Hopes fathers white immigrant ancestors arriving in America and her mothers enslaved ancestors toiling in the cotton fields. As Poogee tells her story, readers see Hopes African-American grandparents marching for equal rights, and her white grandparents, who are teachers. And best of all, they are shown the wedding of Hopes parents with their black and white families and friends celebrating together. A must-have title.Eunice Weech, M. L. King Elementary School, Urbana, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Monk takes a didactic tack in presenting one girl's ancestry, weaving into a story of several generations the scene of her African-American mother and Caucasian father's wedding. The stumbling narration establishes that the protagonist is in sixth grade, looking back on a summer weekend before she entered second grade. Her loving Aunt Prudence, known as Aunt Poogee, takes the narrator to an open-air market, where they encounter another relative, Miss Violet. Miss Violet asks outright, ``My goodness, Prudence, is the child mixed?'' The question haunts the girl, whose name is revealed as Hope, until Aunt Poogee steps in with a bedtime story that is overblown, invoking the faith of immigrants and slaves across generations who ``look forward to a future where you will be proud to be part of a race that is simply `human.' '' The sentiments are strong, but the delivery borders on mawkish. Sturdy faces, tender postures, and vibrant backgrounds considerably enliven the bibliotherapeutic proceedings. (Picture book. 4-7) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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One minor caveat about the book: several of the characters speak in a more colloquial manner ("Baby, don't pay her no never mind," "She doesn't favor a soul in your family," "mama," "folks.") Since no one in my or my husband's family speaks this way, sometimes it feels stilted rolling off my tongue.
The author of the book is a professional actress in Minneapolis, where I used to live, and this was her first children's book, which may explain the dramatic language. Her second book about the character Hope is called "Family" but isn't nearly as good.
One reviewer called the language overly dramatic. I think this just shows how different we are with different backgrounds . Although I have never heard anyone actually speak like this, it doesn't mean someone is less intelligent.
Racism is so sublte and rampant in our society...what better way to start an opening than with a story read to a child??