|Armstrong & Charlie|
Author: Frank, Steven
During the pilot year of a Los Angeles school system integration program, two sixth grade boys, one black, one white, become best friends as they learn to cope with everything from first crushes and playground politics to the loss of loved ones and racial prejudice in the 1970s.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 187751
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 15.0 Quiz: 69488
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/01/17)
School Library Journal (03/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/17)
The Hornbook (00/09/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 01/01/2017 When an all-white school in the Hollywood Hills experimentally takes a busload of African American students from South Central L.A. (this is 1974), two sixth-graders from very different backgrounds work their way over a decidedly rocky road towards friendship. Both are on emotional knife edges: for Charlie, who is white, it’s because his adored older brother died a few months ago, and now his friends are all suddenly transferring. Meanwhile, African American Armstrong, angry about his own transfer, is inclined to solve problems with his fists. Armstrong’s adjustment isn’t made any easier by his reception, which ranges from playground chants to an ambush after he kisses a white girl. Frank has his two protagonists share narrator duty (interspersed with multiple transcripts of incident reports) as they move from mutual hostility and incomprehension to respect. In the end, social and racial gulfs remain, but a closing wash of warm graduation-day sentiment leaves a sense of hope that they may one day close. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2017 Gr 5–8—This story of an unlikely friendship alternates between the points of view of two boys from disparate backgrounds in 1970s Los Angeles. Charlie, who is Jewish, lives with his parents in a big home in the Hollywood Hills, where they are still mourning the death of his older brother. Armstrong, who is African American, lives with his parents and his sisters in an apartment building in South Central. Because of "Opportunity Busing" for Armstrong, both are starting sixth grade at Wonderland in Laurel Canyon. In spite of their differences and a rocky beginning, Charlie and Armstrong become good friends throughout the course of the school year. Together they confront racism, grief, and bullying. Strong language (including the use of racial slurs and sexist terms) and references to naked girls and French kissing make this a selection best suited for mature middle graders. VERDICT This uplifting and touching exploration of friendship, with a vivid setting, is a solid addition to most middle school libraries.—Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Brighton District Library, Brighton, MI - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.