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A Little Piece of Sky Paperback – October 8, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This story of an African-American girl who beats the odds is certainly familiar, but Bailey-Williams's spare narration and concise prose establish her as a new author with a powerful voice and plenty to say. Song Byrd was born into the ghetto of North Philadelphia with an absent father, a mother who turns to prostitution, a sister who steals to support her drug habit and a brother who winds up in prison for raping an elderly woman. What saves Song is her inner strength and the attentions of a neighbor named Miss Olga, but her pivotal break comes on the heels of tragedy, when her mother is shot by the girlfriend of one of her paramours. Song moves in with her father, although the girl still battles the guilt she feels over her mother's death. That guilt leads to a revelatory sequence of chapters in which Song sees a therapist and comes to terms with her past, while negotiating a new relationship with a young man named Anthony. The narrative appeals, but what really makes the book work is the incisive, succinct and compelling prose, which turns a simple story into an insightful character exploration. Bailey-Williams's success will ultimately rest on her ability to take her plots in different directions, but this debut marks her as a promising figure in this genre.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Like a gifted quilter, Bailey-Williams has stitched together the pieces of a woman's life to form a seamless portrait of survival and healing. As a child, Song Byrd is burdened with poverty and abuse: her alcoholic single mother locks her in the bathroom, her sister steals to buy drugs, and one brother is always in jail, while the other is a wanderer. When Song's mother is murdered, her life takes a sudden and unexpected turn, and she must confront feelings of guilt as she grows up. Bailey-Williams, a high school English teacher, has written a debut that reads like an urban diary, filled with hardships but also acts of love and kindness, told matter-of-factly and without melodrama. Her refusal to make Song a victim is refreshing, and her ability to convey so much feeling in so few words makes this novel almost a prose poem. Highly recommended, particularly for young adults. [Harlem Moon is a new paperback imprint focusing on books for African Americans.-Ed.]-Ellen Flexman, Indianapolis-Marion Cty. P.L., I.
--Ellen Flexman, Indianapolis-Marion Cty. P.L., IN
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1 Reprint edition (October 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767912160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767912167
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,644,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a forewarning to readers who decide to pick up Nicole Bailey-William's A Little Piece of Sky: this is not your average piece of fiction. The 155 page book is centered on the troubled female character named Song Byrd, and the novel is put together in much the same lyrical and poetic way as the character's name. The chapters are short, metaphorically deep, snack-sized morsels that the reader is treated to as they read about Song's struggle to overcome the ghetto of Philadelphia that has made her who she is.

The title of the book comes into play when Song divulges to the reader that her mother, who birthed four children from four different men, used to lock Song into the roach infested bathroom of their apartment when her mother was unable to attain a babysitter. Song would look up to the sky as a symbol of hope and day dream to pass the time away. A tragic event occurs, which rattles Song's foundation and makes her decide to never look up ever again.

Fast forward many years later and Song is a graduate of Spelman College with a great job giving back to the community and a man who adores her, but she's still holding on desperately to her past. Despite her personal uplifting experience of no longer relaxing her hair and the education she has under her belt, there are many old issues of hope and self-esteem that she has to struggle through before she can truly move on with her life.

Works of fiction of this sort are great for those who are looking for a profound, triumphant story. This novel does not skimp on major issues like classism, race, intra-racism, and the power of the human spirit to overcome. This should be required reading for every woman of color before heading off for higher learning.

Anna

R.E.A.L. Reviewers
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By A Customer on September 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
I would recommend this book for anyone to read, young or old. I, not being a real "big reader", found this book to be very interesting and entertaining. I found the characters to be very real, and could relate to all of them. Even though the book isn't very long, Nicole Bailey-Williams writes this story's plot very well and keeps you wanting to know what's going to happen next. Once again, I really enjoyed reading this book, and I saw a piece of Sky, and some other characters, in myself.
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Format: Paperback
Nicole Bailey-Williams has struck gold with A Little Piece of Sky. This little book has so much packed between its pages that will make you laugh, cry and relate. The fact that it reads like a song and the main character's name is Song Byrd is no coincidence. Song's pain and pleasures of life are shared by many women at different stages of their lives, and the fact that she overcomes it all and struts on like the truly empowered sister she evolved into made my heart sing along with her. This book is a must read for those of you who love to read and those of you who read casually. It is absolutely, positively, beautifully done.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most beautiful books I've read in a while. Nicole Bailey-Williams has done what all of the "big time" authors can't seem to manage and that is to tell a complete story with very few words. She left out all of the unnecessary discriptive stuff and just concentrated on the heart of the story which is the evolution of a young girl surrounded by tragedy and darkness who grew up to eventually create her own light. This moving story of Song Byrd is magnificent and left me wanting more. For anyone who not only enjoys a good story, but beautiful writing as well, this is a wonderful selection.
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Format: Paperback
Mrs Bailey-Williams really out did herslf with this novel. Speaking as a teenager I felt that this story is realistic. Song has been through many trials and tribulation just like many other teenagers,but she made the best out of her situation. This book is a ray of hope for teenagers who are going through hard times in their lives. This was an excellent novel I strongly recommend this novel for people ages 15 and up
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Format: Paperback
The book had it's moments. It's not very in depth at all. Its more of poetry than a novel. It beats around the bush. Chapters that are one page long. Such a short book. Also I don't understand spanish and hated her usage of spanish all throughout the book. It's annoying not to know what the people are saying. She could at least have followed up the spanish with the english translation in parenthesis. Average book.
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Format: Paperback
A Little Piece of Sky is a book that everyone should read. It tells the story of how a person goes from being an insecure little girl to a self confident and self assured young woman. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a little peice of sky to get them through lifes stormy madness.
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Format: Paperback
I work in a NYC high school. I discovered this title after searching for something other than House on Mango Street. I wanted a protagonist who was black who could speak for the black experience and a book that wasn't too melodic, whimsical, and schizophrenic. I wanted a book that my Black students, male and female could relate to. For three years, I have used this textbook in an alternative school. The students LOVE IT. One student returned to the site after graduating, searching for me during summer vacation because she forgot the title and wanted to buy it. She found me when school began in September. Luckily I had a copy and gave it to her. I was overjoyed to be hunted down for a book. Another student "borrowed" the book and returned it proudly; she was ready to discuss it, but the class hadn't finished the book. Song Byrd is a metaphor for every adolescent or teen brought up on in today's fragmented, disconnected, dysfunctional family. Song has the self-esteem issues, the no love issues, the never feel good enough issues, the why no one loves me and do I deserve to be loved issues, the I am ugly, too dark, too light, too skinny, too fat issues. I am surprised Oprah never had this author on her show and book on her list. (Ophrah never had J. California Cooper, and I love all her titles because they speak to the resilience, strength and vunerability of woman--just like Song). There are two instances cursing, but just enough to emphasize the harshness of a hate-filled mother who lives a hate-filled life. The book offers hope, not in a sloppy way, but in a "somebody has an angel looking over them" kind of way. Every high school without a censorship committee, especially a high school sitting in a community where the very life of family stability is at risk, should read this book.
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