Very human in its scale, concerns, and aspirations: the kind of story that could light a fire under a reader’s dream of...

LIFE IN A POSTCARD

ESCAPE TO THE FRENCH PYRENEES

Travel writer Bailey vividly describes moving her family from England to the French Pyrenees.

Early in this story, as the author tells of fixing up her newly purchased, 16th-century monastery with ochre lime mortar and terracotta tiles, readers may dread the prospect of yet another winsome tale of a delicious rural hideaway discovered by a vacationing couple and renovated by a force of colorful local artisans into the perfect bijou residence. But anyone who read Bailey’s account of her brother’s death (Scarlet Ribbons: A Priest with AIDS, 1998) will know there’s no danger of sentimentality. She fully delves into the act of living in a decrepit monastery. As she and her husband chip away at plaster in an effort to expose the original design, she tries to imagine what it was like to live there as a member of the brotherhood of Servites (“an Italian order dedicated to the sorrow of the Virgin Mary”) or as the hermit who kept the candles burning for the dead and rang the bells to scare away thunderstorms and witches. She becomes familiar with the local peach farmers (squabbling with some of them) and with the nouveaux paysans, an international band of slow-living, artful people who live in the hills of the region. She contends with the everyday aggravations—rampant brambles, rats in the attic, her newly developed hay fever—along with the everyday pleasures: her son's new school, Catalan food, the experience of living in a new place, which keeps her alert to everything from changes in the seasonal light to learning the common courtesies. All this while she has to work to pay the bills and ensure the well-being of her son, whom she feels guilty about having so rudely uprooted.

Very human in its scale, concerns, and aspirations: the kind of story that could light a fire under a reader’s dream of flight to the warm south.

Pub Date: May 15, 2003

ISBN: 0-553-81341-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bantam UK/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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