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MAYFIELD CROSSING by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson


by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson & illustrated by Leonard Jenkins

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-22331-2
Publisher: Putnam

 The eight kids at Mayfield Crossing are a tightknit group who enjoy playing baseball together; but now, in 1960, their little school is closed and they're bused to larger Parkview Elementary, where they don't get much of a welcome--they're not even chosen for the lunch-time ballgame. For bright Meg Turner, the only African-American in her fourth grade, it's a first experience with racism. But at least she (unlike her brother Billie) has a nice teacher, Mr. Stanley: When Clayton, who has been heckling her since the first day, accuses Meg of cheating, Mr. Stanley helps her disprove the charge--but after Clayton retaliates and Billie comes to Meg's defense, all three land in the principal's office. Justice again prevails, and the Mayfield kids finally win acceptance by their fair play and by challenging Parkview to a baseball game, with one of Meg's new classmates volunteering to be the ninth on their team. Drawing on her own small-town Pennsylvania childhood, the author offers a creditable first novel recalling how patience and nonconfrontational assertiveness were used to defuse prejudice in the 60's. Characters aren't well individualized, but the Turner family dynamics are wholesome, and the playground interaction and the ultimate resolution believable. (Fiction. 8-11)