Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
Series: American Girl (Quality)
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: American Girl (September 1, 2007)
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,322,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #68 in Books > Children's Books > Holidays & Celebrations > Chinese New Year #593 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Family Life > Marriage & Divorce #1230 in Books > Children's Books > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > United States > 1900s
Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 3 and up
The year is 1974. Nine-year-old Julie Albright is about to embark on fourth grade; and, while she should be excited for the big day, she's anything but. Back at Sierra Vista Elementary School, Julie would be entering Mr. Nader's fourth grade class with her best friend, Ivy Ling. Everyone loved Mr. Nader, because he allowed his students to hatch butterflies right in class; and Julie's friendship with Ivy meant the world to her. But things had changed practically overnight. Suddenly, Julie's parents were divorced, and Julie was forced to move to an apartment above her mother's groovy shop, Gladrags, with her fifteen-year-old sister, Tracy. Worse than that, Julie was forced to leave her beloved bunny, Nutmeg, at her father's place, and was only permitted to see her father - a pilot - every other weekend. Luckily, she wasn't too far from her old home. Unfortunately, she was just far enough away to have to attend a new school in San Francisco - Jack London Elementary.From day one, it was evident that Jack London Elementary left much to be desired. Julie's new teacher, Ms. Hunter, was as strict as they come, and wouldn't allow anyone in class to talk. And Principal Sanchez had a habit of walking through the halls handing out demerits to anyone who broke even the tiniest school rule. Julie just knows that she won't fit in with her classmates. And, she seems to be correct. The Water Fountain Girls - Amanda, Alison, and Angela - already know that Julie's parents are divorced, and seem to look for any excuse to throw that bit of information in her face; and the only person who will talk to her is a boy named T.J. But when Julie learns that Jack London Elementary has its very own basketball team, she couldn't be more excited.
Having moved into an apartment after her parents divorce in the 1970's, this book's young protagonist, Julie Albright, continues effectively confronting several personal challenges.Learning that Joy Jenner, a classmate who is deaf does not get treated fairly at school because of her disability is frustrating. Joy can read lips, but her 'odd' speech patterns frequently get riddiculed by insensitive classmates who do not initially understand-care about people with disabilities being treated fairly. This frequently makes it uncomfortable for her to participate and learn. So, Julie runs for class president. Furthermore, she intentionally picks Joy as her vice presidential running mate!This is another really good fiction offering. Joy's 'difference' from many of their other classmates consequently requires 'campaign trail accommodations' years before the Americans with Disabilities Act would actually mandate it for 'grown up' elections and other parts of society. After having made the selection, Julie also then realizes that she herself had some prejudice against people with disabilities being her equals, and also needed to work through it if Joy really was going to get treated fairly at school. Joy is perfectly capable of speaking for herself!It's a much more realistic plot device than if the protagonist without disabilities automatically came in and was completely supportive of people with disabilities right to public participation. We see Julie learning from past mistakes and growing, but realize that she is not a bad person.Revisiting the 'women's political participation' theme from the 'Samantha' series, it also foreshadows the rapid increase of women who would run for office starting in the 1970's and successfully continuing today.
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