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“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” More
Summary: Joe Joe Rawlings is struggling with a problem. His best friend, Tyrone, is running drugs for a neighborhood pusher and keeps pressing Joe Joe to do the same. Joe Joe knows better but finds the temptation of easy money difficult to ignore. Mrs. Morgan, the local librarian always tried to find stories that kids would like. She knew about Joe Joe’s interest in flying airplanes and selected a book on the Tuskegee Airmen. Joe Joe had never heard of them but they were about to rock his world. This is a modern-day story that draws on history for its moral.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, middle grade reader
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 9; read yourself 9 and up
Interest Level: 7 to 10
Age of Child: Read by a 10-year-old child at Effort Baptist Church as part of the Children's Ministry and Use Your ABCs project.
Young Reader Reaction: I did not like the book because it was mostly about planes. You can teach with this book because it has lots of history.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a good story. The illustrations are very well done. There is lots to talk about vis-a-vis making choices.
Pros: This is a wholesome and believable story. The adolescent reader will be familiar with the pressures that challenge them everyday. The illustrations are well done and compliment the story.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. The story is one that adolescents will read, enjoy, and talk about. The dilemmas in Joe Joe's life confront many adolescents. Parents, teachers, and counselors will find lots of issues and concerns to share with their charges.
Educational Themes: The challenges and opportunities facing young people and their families are awesome. The frenetic pace of life combined with economic and social pressures make it difficult for parents and communities to protect children from making poor decisions. This story points out that it takes a caring and vigilant community to raise a child in today’s world.
Literary Categories: Fiction - African Americans, pilots, US miilitary, US history
Date(s) Reviewed: February 2008
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