Bound To Stay Bound

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 Walking with Miss Millie
 Author: Bundy, Tamara

 Publisher:  Nancy Paulsen (2017)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 227 p.,  21 cm

 BTSB No: 171661 ISBN: 9780399544569
 Ages: 10-14 Grades: 5-9

 Family life -- Georgia -- Fiction
 Old age -- Fiction
 Race relations -- Fiction
 Deaf -- Fiction
 People with disabilities -- Fiction
 Moving -- Fiction
 Georgia -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction

Price: $21.38

After moving with her mother and deaf brother to Grandma's small Georgia town in the 1960s, Alice copes with feelings of isolation by befriending the elderly black woman who lives next door.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 4.90
   Points: 7.0   Quiz: 193460
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 5.20
   Points: 12.0   Quiz: 75203

   Kirkus Reviews (05/01/17)
   School Library Journal (-) (05/01/17)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 05/01/2017 Gr 4–6—Set in 1968, this middle school novel touches on issues of bullying, abandonment, domestic violence, unemployment, race, disability, and poverty. A young white girl, Alice, has just moved to Georgia from Ohio. She's soon asked to help her elderly neighbor, a black woman named Miss Millie, by walking her dog each day. Stubborn canine Clarence proves difficult, so Miss Millie and Alice walk him together. As the days go by, Alice and Miss Millie talk about many things, including the destructive history of racism and segregation in the small town. The pacing suffers about halfway through, slowing down considerably and making the last half a bit of a slog. Despite the length, several themes and plot points remain underdeveloped. For example, during the celebration of Alice's 11th birthday, her grandmother and Miss Millie are both in attendance, but it is never explained when or how the two women became accepting of each other, when earlier, the grandmother seemed racist toward Miss Millie or at least unwilling to have her in her home. The father of two other characters, Jake and Pam, is portrayed as a hateful person, verbally and physically abusive, who teaches his children prejudice. It is not clear if or how he reacts when his children eventually befriend Alice and her brother. Ultimately, this is a forced and predictable book in which a naive white heroine learns life lessons from an Auntie Mame character. The text is riddled with stereotypes about black culture. Despite the need for novels set during this time period that explore the painful legacy of racial segregation, the characterizations do more harm than good. The author's attempts to offer platitudes on tolerance and acceptance of others come across as trite and didactic. VERDICT An unfortunate and harmful example of black characters being used as foils for a white character's enlightenment. A hard pass.—Gwen Collier, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, NY - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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