Author Sharon Robinson beautifully tells her coming of age story that focuses on one pivotal year of her life in Child of Dreams: A Memoir of 1963. It’s the year she turns 13-years-old and the year not only her eyes are opened, but the eyes of a nation are opened to the injustice and racial inequality going on. Sharon is the daughter of the famous baseball player, Jackie Robinson, who broke the racial barrier in baseball. Because of his status, she lives a rather sheltered life in Connecticut; however, she is aware of his contributions to the Civil Rights movement. It’s as she becomes more aware that she realizes that most children of color don’t have the advantages she has had.
This novel is a poignant reminder of the steps that were first taken to ensure equal rights for all. Sharon provides her account of things as she watched things like the Children’s March in Alabama and the arrest of those children on TV. She also gives a detailed description of her life and what it was like to be one of two black girls in her school. Another fascinating aspect of Sharon’s memoir is that she shares how she was able to participate in the March in Washington DC and meet Dr. Martin Luther King.
Child of the Dream is a memoir that is perfect for this day and age to bring certain topics to light and open discussion about them in a way that is appropriate for this age group. I highly recommend this novel as a way to bring up segregation, racial tension, and racism.
Bonus: Included in the book are several pages of personal photographs from this year.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic
Profanity/Language: 1 religious exclamation.
Violence/Gore: Character’s injury from a horseback riding accident described in detail; Mention of someone chasing a robber out of the store with a gun; Mention of churches being bombed in the past (3); Account of Elizabeth Eckford trying to desegregate a school and having a mob chase her away; Mention of character’s brother getting bullied and in fights because of his race; Actual picture of one of the bombed out buildings; Account given of characters watching on the news the Children’s March in Birmingham and seeing children get arrested; Account given of firehose being used on the children marching with enough force to throw them over parked cars; Account of character watching the news as a boy is beat by police with a baton; Secondhand account told of police sicing their dog on the marching children; Report given of the bombing of a hotel; Report given of a young boy being bitten by a police dog and requiring stitches.
In author’s notes she mentions the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr.
Sex/Nudity: Character mentions starting her period, developing quickly and needing a bra; boy and girl kiss with mention of boy using his tongue (this is retold by character one more time).
Mature Subject Matter:
Racism; Segregation; Police brutality; Death.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Mention of pool hall full of smoke and alcohol.