A young African-American girl is traumatized when a gang attacks her and her brother on their way home from school and spray-paints her face white. Based on a true story.
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Shange (for adults, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, 1977, etc.) based the Carnegie Medalwinning video--here turned with startling success into a cutting picture book with the cels as illustrations--on a series of true incidents. Helene-Angel's day in a mixed-race elementary school proceeds typically until she's walking home behind her brother, Mauricio, ``so I wouldn't be mistaken for his girl, you know.'' The Hawks, a white gang, knock Mauricio aside and spray-paint Helene-Angel's face white. At home, Grandma cleans her up and allows her sanctuary in her room, whispering comforting words through a closed door as the incident is publicized outside Helene-Angel's window. After a week, Grandma insists that she open the door ``and be strong.'' Believing herself an embarrassment, Helene-Angel opens the door to find her whole class there, smiling and pledging support before they sweep her onto the street and off to school. Seeing Mauricio hanging back ``like a dog with his tail between his legs,'' Helene-Angel grabs his hand: ``You know, we've got a right to be here, too''--a somewhat formal assertion, given the raw emotion that has informed the rest of the book. The book's a shocker, and it means to be. Young readers will be demolished by what happens to Helene-Angel, and reassured by the reactions and behavior of her grandmother and classmates. (Picture book. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
PreSchool-Grade 2AHelene-Angel has to wait for her older brother Mauricio to walk her home from school. Neither of them like this arrangement. One day the Hawks, a gang of white thugs, beat up Mauricio and spray white paint on Helene-Angel's face. "I was dripping white. Really itchy, stinging white paint covered me wherever my brown skin used to be." Her grandmother's comforting words are not enough to help the girl handle her fear and humiliation. She closes herself away from her family and friends for a week. When her classmates come to the house to escort her back to school, Helene-Angel realizes that others care about her pain. Adults could use this story for a lesson in tolerance, resolving unanswered questions, and preparing young children for some of life's cruel realities. The large colorful gouache illustrations with bold black outlines and deep red borders have been done by an animation producer. Some facial expressions convey strong emotions while others are simple lines, characteristic of cartoon art. The full-length award-winning video is probably the better medium for this story, but the book will be available to a wider audience.AMarie Wright, University Library, Indianapolis, IN
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Walker & Company, 1997. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110802784917
Book Description Walker & Company, 1997. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0802784917