Margaret McMullan managed to pack so much story into this itty bitty book!
Samantha is newly moved to Mississippi from Pittsburgh in the summer of 1962, a year when the cicadas are drowning out the usual summer sounds but not the loss of her father. Blacks and Whites are “separate but equal” and Sam’s grandmother even hired a lady named Willa Mae to work as a maid and nanny for Sam after school. Luckily, Sam’s art history professor Mom has taught her that everyone is human underneath… Which soon leads to trouble for Sam and her ideas of wanting to fit in with the most popular girl. Her situation is made even more complicated when her mom brings Perry, a photography professor, home for dinner. But Perry gives her a camera and suddenly Samantha has found a way not to fit in… but to really see the world around her so she can decide where she wants to stand.
If my daughter were a couple years older, she would be reading this book. If I were a teacher, I would be asking for it to be included in the curriculum.
The Civil Rights Movement with sit-ins at lunch counters and preferential bus seating may have ended but the world always needs more love and understanding. Samantha learns to stand up for herself and to stand up for what is right.