Laura Malone Elliott Flying South

ISBN 13: 9780060012144

Flying South

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9780060012144: Flying South

In the sticky-hot summer of 1968, a year in American history marked by assassinations, Vietnam War protests, and civil rights rioting, Alice faces some trying concerns of her own. Alice longs for a connection with her mother, who is beautiful but distant, caught up in the search for a husband who will help erase the memory of Alice's father. Alice's friendship with Bridget, a tennis-playing Twiggy, introduces her to competitiveness and the shallow pettiness of spoiled rich girls, as as well as to the prejudice that many Americans still feel toward black people.

It is Alice's friendship with Doc, the family gardener and handyman, that continually brings her back to the truths that will shape the decsions in her life. Doc reminds Alice that life is about "passing the test" -- doing what's right.

FLYING SOUTH celebrates a young girl's coming-of-age in a delicate, moving narrative that sings with the understated, yet resonate, pleasures of life in the American South.

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About the Author:

Laura Malone Elliott is the author of Under a War-Torn Sky, a NCSS/CBC Notable Book in Social Studies, a Jefferson Cup Honor Book, and winner of the Borders' Original Voices Award, and its sequel, A Troubled Peace, also a NCSS/CBC Notable; Annie, Between the States, an IRA Teacher's Choice and NYPL Book for the Teen Age; Give Me Liberty; and Flying South, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book. She lives in Virginia with her family.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-7-With curiosity and introspection, Alice, 10, recounts one summer's everyday events. She and her widowed mother live near Charlottesville, VA, on the estate that Grace inherited from her parents. While the fashionable, distracted woman seeks the attentions of a well-heeled politician, her daughter soaks up the kindness, wisdom, and affection of the elderly staff-Doc, the gardener, and Edna, the cook. Helping Doc tend the magnificent roses, Alice learns the importance of appreciating differences, protecting others, and standing tall for what you believe. When he has a stroke, she realizes she is saying good-bye to her best friend. Political events of 1968 create a backdrop for the inner turmoil the child experiences and the values she possesses. This spunky, talkative, compassionate girl occasionally seems wiser than her self-absorbed mother and is surprisingly tolerant, acquiescing to such demands as sitting through tedious formal dinners with Grace and her beau. However, when the pompous, bullying suitor threatens Alice while proposing marriage, maternal instincts surface; Grace rejects his offer and recognizes the character and strength in her daughter. This is both a poignant mother-daughter story and a comforting tale of the affection between a lonely young girl and an irascible but devoted old man. Doc's gems of insight invigorate Alice and shape her outlook on life. Readers will find poignancy, humor, and history in this story.
Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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