- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 6
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; Reprint edition (2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786851252
- ISBN-13: 978-0786851256
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#947,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1027 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Bullies
- #3350 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Family Life > Siblings
- #5227 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > School
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Vive La Paris Paperback – 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6–In this companion to Codell's Sahara Special ( Hyperion, 2003), fifth-grader Paris McCray reveals what she has discovered about life in the process of taking piano lessons from Mrs. Rosen, a Holocaust survivor with a sense of humor. The girl's parents; her four older brothers; and the cast of characters from Miss Pointy's class, including best friends Sahara and Luz, keep the proceedings lively. Paris is an explorer of her universe, and words (often italicized) matter to her; her engaging narrative voice is noteworthy for its perseverance, charm, and wit. Her naïveté and, at times, ignorance cause her to make mistakes, but she begins to understand the choices of those around her. Youngest brother Michael's unwillingness to hit a bullying girl back; Mrs. Rosen's gift to her of a yellow star; and the ethical requirements of her own project, the Extreme Readers Club, ask much of Paris, but she is more than up to their challenges. Codell skillfully balances sadness with moments of laughter to keep readers hooked throughout. Touching and funny in equal measure, this short novel addresses innocence, guilt, and atonement and will have an intense impact on readers.–Carol A. Edwards, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Codell's new book, a companion to Sahara Special (2003), is narrated by Sahara's self-confident African American classmate, Paris McCray, who is trying to understand an increasingly confusing world. Paris' gentle older brother is regularly beaten up by her fifth-grade classmate; her piano teacher was once a spy and has numbers tattooed on her arm. Armed with incomplete information, Paris tries to right some wrongs, and Codell lays out the painful results with a blessedly light touch. Addressing such subjects as the Holocaust, bullying, God's presence, and (in a subtle way that will go over many readers' heads) AIDS, the novel makes a convincing case for rose-colored glasses, dancing the can-can, and playing joyful music with your big brother. Codell gives Paris some vivid companions, most notably Mrs. Rosen and brothers Michael and Louis, but the book's star is Paris, who forges past self-doubt to a wider outlook. Here's hoping Codell turns to another of Sahara's classmates for further revelations about a formative age. Abby Nolan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Vive Le Paris is the companion novel to Sahara Special, which I loved so much. It's fun to check back in on the characters in Miss Pointy's class and see how they've grown under her care. For the most part, though, Paris' story takes place outside of the classroom. She's got a fun, loving family with four older brothers and takes piano lessons from Mrs. Rosen, an elderly Holocaust survivor. Over the course of a few months, she learns about bullying, ignorance, nonviolence, and seeing the world through 'rose-colored glasses'.
There is so much to love here, as a reader and as a teacher.I remember that middle school was when we really delved into learning about World War II. Vive La Paris is geared towards a younger age group, so could be used as an introduction to the Holocaust. It could be read independently over the summer, and then referred back to during the year. This is a novel that kids will love to read, with lots of lessons tucked in.
Vive La Paris is also really funny. In describing her brother's friend, Paris says, "He wears button-down shirts and has glasses like Malcolm X, but he's white, and believe me, on a white boy those glasses got a whole different effect." At first I wanted to say that there are so many humorous throwaway lines, but the reality is that all of the lines are beautifully crafted and intentional.
Finally, I appreciate that the cover actually reflects what happens in the book. There are a lot of details that show the illustrator (whose name I couldn't find) read the novel. She probably loved it too!
Paris McCray is one busy fifth grader. She heads up a reading program at her school, complete with mimeographed newsletters. She has lots of friends and four older brothers. Music is an important part of her family's life and she takes up piano, studying with an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Rosen. And, of course, Paris has an enemy. Another fifth grader, Tanaeja, likes to beat up Paris' older brother, Michael, which is embarrassing to say the least.
Michael is a charming kid who prefers baking to sports. He's charged with accompanying Paris to her piano lessons and before long he's singing to her music. Both children become close to Mrs. Rosen, a lonely Holocaust survivor who really takes to her young students. When she learns Paris knows nothing, and I mean nothing, of the Holocaust, she feels inspired to show Paris her tattoo and share with her artifacts from her history, including the yellow star.
This is where the novel takes a turn I found so surprising and really new. Paris is a strong narrator. As the youngest child with four older brothers, she's a smart, tough, popular girl. She knows what she wants and says just about anything without fear of retribution. So, when she shows up to school wearing Mrs. Rosen's yellow star on her sleeve, other kids in her class mimeograph yellow stars. Then they write in the names of relatives who've died or the names of brothers serving in Iraq and pin those yellow stars on their clothing. Needless to say, Paris is finally, publicly, very, very wrong.
When she's called into the principal's office and her parents summoned, the principal tells her "ignorance is not a defense." When Paris doesn't understand what this means, Mom reads her the riot act:
"'Didn't you hear that teacher? There comes a time when ignorance is no longer an excuse. Ignorance is the fire that burns the cross. Your ignorance.' Mama whirled around. 'People died, Paris. People wore that star and died, the way people wore our skin and died.'"
I like to be surprised, and "Vive la Paris" surprised me. "Vive la Paris" is highly recommended for kids ages 9-14.