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YANKEE GIRL by Mary Ann Rodman


by Mary Ann Rodman

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: April 11th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-38661-7
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“Living in Mississippi was like living in a foreign country” to 11-year-old Chicago native Alice Ann Moxley. Her FBI-agent father has just been transferred to Jackson to help protect voter registration, and Alice observes racism in her neighborhood and narrates her journey through the sixth grade at Parnell School, one of five city schools about to integrate. The abuse she takes as a Yankee outsider is nothing compared to the torment classmate Valerie faces as a new “colored” student, and when things get ugly Alice has to decide which is more important—fitting in or doing the right thing. Rodman’s debut, rooted in her own experience, effectively portrays the layers of prejudice in a Mississippi town in 1964. Each chapter opens with a headline from the Jackson Daily Journal, offering a parallel narrative of bombings, murder, and arson as locals attack civil-rights workers. Though too purposeful, with Alice sometimes seeming more a reporter than a fleshed-out character, the novel is rich in detail and lively writing. An important addition to the field. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10+)