Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert Off to School

ISBN 13: 9780823411856

Off to School

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9780823411856: Off to School
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Wanting to go to school more than anything else, young sharecropper Wizielee works in the fields, cooks the noonday meal, and envies the landlord's daughter, until a humorous kitchen disaster makes her dream come true.

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About the Author:

Beginning her career as a teacher in her native state of Texas, Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert has also worked as an assistant school principal and a reading specialist. With this vast experience, it is no surprise that she has also found a second career as a children's book author. In books that include Off to School, The Shaking Bag, and Papa's Mark, Battle-Lavert portrays young lives steeped in African-American culture and history. O "Every family has a recorder," Battle-Lavert once told Something about the Author. "I happen to be the one for my family. Hearing my Mama tell about her life has strengthened me. Her stories have given me the self-esteem, pride, and love that tells me who I am and sustains me as I strive to be the best I can be." Born in 1951, Battle-Lavert eventually gained her teacher's certification, and began her long career as an educator in 1974. Two decades later she embarked on her second career as a children's book author with The Barber's Cutting Edge, published in 1994. Noting that writing is not an easy job, Battle-Lavert once commented: "The more I read, the better my writing becomes. I enter my first draft into the computer, then go back and rework the words I wrote days, weeks, even months before. The stories become better, and better, and better." "I want students to know that reading opens up the world to them," she added. "It's a journey that will last them a lifetime." She lives in Indiana.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4?Wezielee longs to go to school, but instead she has to cook meals for her family members who are laboring in the fields. Her inattention causes repeated crises, such as oversalting the beans, overcooking the vegetables, burning the cornbread, and putting too much hot pepper in the soup. Her father finally decides that she should go to school. While the story, set in the early part of this century, has potential interest, it lacks logic and coherence. The relationship between Wezielee's culinary failures and her desire to go to school is tenuous. Her disasters could have been humorous, but they fall flat. Also, while the author refers to the family as sharecroppers, they seem to be migrant farm workers?Wezielee's father "...moved the family from state to state, picking cotton, apples, tomatoes, and corn." Griffith's illustrations add to the child's personality, and the use of pinks, yellows, and browns evokes a hot, dry countryside. The heroine's close, loving African American family shines through, but her story won't hold most readers' attention.?Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert
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