Friday, January 18, 2013

Kizzy Ann Stamps (2012)

Kizzy Ann Stamps. Jeri Watt. 2012. Candlewick. 192 pages.

Dear Miss Anderson,
My teacher, Mrs. Warren, says I have to write you, and when Mrs. Warren says to do something, you do it. 

Kizzy Ann Stamps is set in Virginia in 1963. Our heroine, Kizzy, is nervous about starting public school--the newly integrated public school. Her old school is closing, her old teacher retiring, just so Kizzy and the other students will have the best opportunity to succeed. The novel is told through a series of letters and journal entries: Kizzy writing to her new (white) teacher Miss Anderson. Through these entries, readers meet Kizzy and her family, but even more importantly they will meet her border collie, Shag. (These two are definitely the best of friends.) Readers will also learn a little something about the times in which Kizzy and her family lived. It's a good coming-of-age novel.

Kizzy's self-description:
I'm not frilly, not froufrou, not fancy. I am plain and down to business. I'm a no-bow girl, like Shag is a no-bow dog. I am not a strawberry sundae or a dream. I am just me. I am who I am. I am jeans, dirt on my hands, and my dog with me at the end of the day. (44)
Other favorites:
Folks may be pretending to offer some chances to black people, going to school together and all, but this is still a place that can see Medgar Evers shot down in his driveway like he is nothing and no one gets arrested. This is still a place where a white man can tell somebody else to switch a black girl in public and no one does a thing. You say that things are changing, Miss Anderson, but I don't see much changing at all. (62)
All I want to do is move on, especially from the scar, away from it and from the people who stare and make me feel like I am some sort of a freak because I have a crease on my face that makes me different from them. Differences aren't welcome. Being the same is what matters. People like same. And I'm not the same. I'm me. (80)
Mama says you can learn something from everyone in the world, but I don't know what I can learn from them. I know what I learn from eating with Omera and Ovita, the twins. They hardly say boo, except when they talk to each other in their twin language, so what I learn is Christian patience. I am exhausted after eating with them, and also more than a little annoyed. But Granny Bits says it is good for my soul to be tried by fire. Well, I am getting a good workout on my patience, that's for sure. (96)
How can one man dying make the whole world hush. (103)
I love words. They just pour over you like hot syrup on corn bread. Drizzle, drizzle, drizzle, rush, rush, rush. (153)
Read Kizzy Ann Stamps
  • If you have an interest in dog shows and/or training dogs
  • If you have an interest in spelling bees
  • If you like heroines who LOVE writing
  • If you are interested in the civil rights movement and school integration
  • If you enjoy historical fiction

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Alex 10:15 AM  

I just loved this book when I read it. Sometimes a heartwarming story is just the thing, like comfort food for the mind.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word 4:11 PM  

This sounds fabulous! Thanks for the teview!

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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