11/25/2010 - National Book Award Finalist; saw review on CCBC. The plot/setting sound interesting. This would be interesting to talk with Nicci about.
1/12/2011 ** Well, now that this has won the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award, our library copy won't renew. If I want to read it, it will have to be before the 28th.
1/16/2011 ** On the back cover, Jacqueline Woodson writes, "an amazing and beautifully written story" and "this novel is just glorious." With such praise from a writer whom I admire so much, I knew that I'd be interested in the book. Also, several of the critiques on CCBC about the time-period in which Cecile changed her name piqued my interest.
Now that I've finished the book, I have to say that I'm somewhat puzzled about the honors it's receiving. I'd call it a solid book - I enjoyed the story and thought that the evolution of the relationship between the girls and Cecile was plausible. I also empathized with the maturity of Delphine and the wealth of chores that she took on to care for her younger sisters. Finally, I appreciated learning more about the Black Panthers and the summer of '68 in Oakland. All that said, however, I can't think of a particular passage of writing that blew me away. (On the flip side, I can't think of any spots that bugged me.)
I'd call this a solid elementary chapter book for the 4th-5th grade reader, especially those who are interested in learning more about that period of history.