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FAME AND GLORY IN FREEDOM, GEORGIA by Barbara O’Connor Kirkus Star


by Barbara O’Connor

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-374-32258-9
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

When Bird decides to make a friend of Harlem Tate, the big new boy in sixth grade who looks mean and acts dumb, she gets whopped upside the head with a dose of reality. Bird has two goals in life: one, to make the pea-flicking kids notice her; and two, to go to Disney World. With her bowed, skinny legs, toothpick arms, stringy hair, and weird outfits, that first goal isn’t likely, but when she convinces Harlem to be her partner for the spelling bee, the prize trip to Disney World might be within reach. Harlem lives with can-collecting Mr. Moody above Ray’s Tattoo Parlor, where they practice spelling. Surprisingly, Harlem is a talented speller, but blows the contest by running off the stage. Bird’s friend, Miss Delphine, the beautiful young woman next door who cares for her invalid father, persuades Bird to remain Harlem’s friend and unearth his problem. Bird’s original voice has charm, grit, and spunkiness that, combined with small town sensibilities, unique characters, and humor, spell out a winner. (Fiction. 8-12)