Jones, Traci L. Finding My Place
Farrar Strauss see macmillan children's pub group 2010 181p 16.99
978-0-374-33573-1 ms/hs VG
In 1975, Tiphanie Baker’s parents move to the posh Denver suburbs and she becomes the first African American female to attend her new high school. She feels like an outcast, her parents expect her to uphold the racial standards they fought for in the civil rights movement, and Tiphanie befriends a hippie looking white girl from the “wrong side of the tracks.
It is 1975 and Tiphanie Baker’s parents move to the posh Denver suburbs where Tiphanie becomes the first African American female student to attend her new high school; there is one other African American male and a few Mexicans. Tiphanie feels like an outcast and misses her friends in the old neighborhood. Her parents, both rising professionals, tell her she has to uphold the racial standards they fought for in the civil rights movement. They expect her to stand up for herself, be polite, and excel academically. Tiphanie becomes good friends with Jackie Sue, a hippie like girl who lives on the “wrong side of the tracks”. She also eventually becomes friendly with some of the other students in her class, maintains friendships with her old friends through her church, and meets new ones through a social organization of children of upper middle class Blacks that she has been invited to join. She does run up against racism at her school, both subtle and not so subtle. But it is her bond with Jackie Sue that helps her feel less lonely in the beginning of this transition year. When she learns Jackie Sue’s secrets about her living conditions, she wants to help but promises Jackie Sue that she won’t reveal them to anyone. The plot ties up neatly and happily for all but the ending is a little melancholy. The author’s portrayal of life in the 70’s seems accurate and she handles the issues of racism, peer pressure, and friendship is a meaningful manner. This title will be a very good selection for both middle school and some high schools. Weinraub, Tina