I am looking for a book that I cannot remember the title of, that I read in sixth grade, 1979/80 school year, in Macon, Georgia. I would like to purchase a copy.
Subject: Middle Grades or YA- African American Female – Fiction – Coming of Age – African American Female empowerment- Mystery
Published: 1970-1980, but I believe closer to 1979
Synopsis:In the 1970s, an African American girl of about ten years old, from a close knit, education supporting, financially struggling family, is left an orphan, along with her teen brother, after their parents die when their Northern city apartment complex burns. I believe that she is burned. She is uprooted from a Northern progressive city when she goes to live with a wealthy middle class aunt and uncle who live in the deep south, in the country, in a house that is disappointing on the outside, but fantastically remodeled on the inside. For the first time she has her own room, beautiful clothes, amusements, books and plenty of delicious food. She is painfully shy and has PTSD from the death of her parents and the fire. She attends a school that is racist and newly desegregated, yet segregated in the classroom by putting all African American students in a low learning group. She has to learn to be assertive to her very racist and patronizing vapid young teacher in order to be placed in a gifted learning group. The aunt is very wise, loving and encourages her niece to grow in confidence, independence, love and learning. The uncle is sullen, intimidating, quiet and grieving over his own private matter. There is a mystery about a pregnant teen girl runaway, who is hiding out in an abandoned church in the woods, somehow related to the uncle, whom she finds when playing in the woods.
This booked moved me and was written in a way that allowed me to grow with the character. It was bold in its description of racism and sexism and the need for individual female power through self confidence and self acceptance and assertiveness. It was a book that sought to enlighten and build a bridge between the racial and gender divides of the 70s post desegregated South.
This book was recommended by my middle school librarian, who was very progressive and excellent at ordering and promoting to every student multicultural African American books. She placed it in a book grouping display, so it may have been a book award nominee or showcased as African American fiction. I believe that the author was an African American female.
Let me know if I need to amend or refine this description. I’ve exhausted Google and the library librarian.