This afternoon I grabbed a glass of wine and this MG book (which I had purchased for my 10 year old granddaughter) and sat down to read a bit. In the late afternoon a few days ago I sat down with a glass of wine and a book I had just purchased for my ten year old granddaughter and planned to read for 'awhile'. I did not get up until I had finished reading the book. Crossing Jordan is a timeless story of a black family moving into the neighborhood. He wants nothing to do with and forbids his daughters to have anything to do with the black family moving in. It is fun reading, with very likable characters on both sides of the fence, and there are many scenes that accurately portray the lives of young people about to enter or in middle school.
The VOYA (Voices of Youth Advocates) Award in 2000 The ALA (YALSA) 2001 Best Books for Young Adults IRA 2001 Notable Books for a Global Society (Honor Book) Georgia Childrens Book Award 2001/2002 Rebecca Caudill (IL) Young Readers Book Award 2003 Sequoayah (OK) Young Adult Book Award 2002/2003 South Carolina Junior Book Award 2002/2003 Sunshine State (FL) Young Readers Award 2002/2003 This book led me into researching 2 things. Mostly, this book won state awards. First things first--this is the first Rebecca Caudill Award wining book I have read for this class. In her rugged way, Rebecca Caudills defines a good book as one that sticks to your ribs. Finally, when researching what ALA/ YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association) is all about, I see that they have a new award for nonfiction beginning in 2010. Crossing Jordan was a good book, a solid good read. The most it has done for me for this class was to help me clarify for myself where these awards come form and how they are changing all the time and which groups sponsor them.
The students would read the book outside of the classroom and in class we would group into assigned literature circles in which the students would discuss aspects of race, gender, and other tough topics in society that people seem to want to ignore rather than address and change.
The girls, Cass and Jemmie are seventh graders so having taught seventh grade I would suggest this book be used to start discussions about topics such as socio economic differences, race relations, and differences in generations. Cass and Jemmie brought these topics out while they sneaked around to become neighbors hiding their relationship from their prejudiced parents; Jemmie's mother and Cass's dad. A book, Jane Eyre, brought the two girls together originally, and then the obvious connections: same grade; smart girls; liked boys; and they loved to run!!
I love the fact that Cass and Jemmie not only learnt the words in Jane Eyre but also used them. I have to say that the author took me by surprise in the race that that they did for the fundraiser for sickle-cell anemia-I really thought they were going to win the race and everything.
Crossing Jordan By Fogelin Adrian This book is a story about a girl named Cass Bodine who was dreading a long and very lonely summer, until a black family moved into the neighbor hood and right next door to them. The black family that moved next door had a daughter called Jemmie. Casses father is the type, who doesnt want anything to do with blacks and Jemmies mother was equal to the task of staying away from such people. Cass and Jemmie were not just winners at the race even though they came in last place; they were now on the front page of the towns newspaper, this brought pride and joy to both families.
I feel like these two books would really complement each other, and address all of the issues on the discrimination spectrum. Crossing Jordan does not only address heavy issues like racism, but one of the central themes in the book is friendship. I think it is essential for middle school students to be able to address light-hearted themes like this so they can have a break from all the difficult topics to discuss.
This is a book that is about two girls not understanding why they should not be friends. I think that with this book, you can teach that you can be friends with people that are different from you and still have something in common - you can be your own person and be okay with that. Cass was not able to stand up to her father at first about her friendship with Jemmie, but with time and the right words, he was able to see that Jemmie and her family were not so different from them and he learned to give them a chance.
Both girls love to run and challenge each other to a race at the track. I liked this story because it shows how just two people can make a big difference. It shows two strong young girls overcome racism, become friends and brought together not only their family, but the whole town.