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Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
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Tar Beach (1991)

by Faith Ringgold

Series: Cassie

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1,245736,363 (3.95)8
Recently added by_rachel, AdamLarson, emily9, newsandy, Taranto, private library, ceallach92, Lxm024, MontagueES

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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
This was a book about a young girl recalling her visits to Tar Beach, which she recollected in a nostalgic, dreamlike way.I enjoyed this book because of all of the social injustices it pointed out; the protagonist "in her dream" was able to fly over the city, and make all of the changes she wanted. These changes included buying the apartment building they lived in, so rent would no longer be a problem, as well as taking over the workers union who wouldn't let her father in because he was black. I think it did a good job of pointing out many of the social injustices that occurred in the past. This isn't my favorite book because it seemed very unrealistic and implausible; The protagonist starts by simply remembering her visits to Tar Beach, in a seemingly factual way. She then goes on to fly over the city, and talk about all of the changes she would be able to make given her ability to fly. However, even from the context of this book, the events that were recollected occurred in the past; she didn't and can't fly, yet in this book she is "remembering" a time that she did fly. Furthermore, she talks about all the changes she would have made, in the past, if she were able to fly, yet society has already adopted some of those changes. For example, if she could fly over the union building, allegedly, the owners would recognize her abilities and give her ownership, which would allow her to give her father membership, even though he is black. Today, which is when this story is technically set (since the protagonist is remembering trips she made as a child) it is illegal for a union to refuse membership based on the grounds of race, so some of the injustices that the protagonist would have fixed by having the ability to fly have already been addressed by the time the protagonist is recollecting these events. I enjoy historical fiction and historically accurate books that point out injustices we have done in the past, and I enjoy modern fantasies, but this was a book set in the present that was addressing social issues of the past, some of which had been addressed, even by the time that the actual setting of this book took place in. Racism certainly still exists, but this book seemed to talk about historical issues from a modern setting.

Reading level 2-5 ( )
  AdamLarson | Dec 9, 2014 |
Faith Ringgold is an author and artist who tells her stories through and on her “story quilts.” Her story Tar Beach is the perfect book to do as a Read Aloud for a Heritage Day unit. The students, through the use of metaphors and symbols, learn about Ringgold’s dreams and struggles as she flies over the city. Students can create their own story quilts that represent their family or their own hopes and dreams. There are many videos documenting Faith Ringgold’s life and career as an artist. She a powerful figure and her story is inspiring. ( )
  Taranto | Dec 2, 2014 |
Wonderfully illustrated book tells the dreams of a young girl growing up in Harlem in the late 30's. She shares a passionate voice of action and change as she dreams of flying over the well-known buildings of NYC that hold power over her family and her life. ( )
  EllieRickett | Sep 10, 2014 |
Summary: Imagination is exposed in this amazing book. The work of a quilted art story woven into a little girl named Cassie in the 1939 Harlem. SHe is looking down from her roof at the "tar beach" with a mind full of imagination. It focuses on freedom and dreams of a young girl. She enjoys watching the city from the rooftop.
Personal Reaction:This book was touching and inspiring. I had to read it a couple times before it finally clicked to me what was going on. It inspired me because she was loved being able to see the view and since it was such a hard time and she was coming from such a lower-class family, she found time for herself.
Classroom Extensions: Have students lie on the floor and close their eyes. Read this book to them and reflect on when Cassie was flying over George WAshington bridge. Reflect to the children what it felt like to fly. Have the students illustrate what they saw when they were flying.
  atinney16 | Jul 24, 2014 |
This book requires a lot of thought to understand what is really going on. It would probably not be as good for kindergarteners as it would be for 2nd or 3rd graders. I like that the story comes from the point of view of an African-American girl, which isn't currently found in enough books for kids. ( )
  TaraStraight | Mar 5, 2014 |
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"I will always remember when the stars fell down around me and lifted me up above the George Washington Bridge."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0517885441, Paperback)

Illus. in full color. "Ringgold recounts the dream adventure of eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who flies above her apartment-building rooftop, the 'tar beach' of the title, looking down on 1939 Harlem. Part autobiographical, part fictional, this allegorical tale sparkles with symbolic and historical references central to African-American culture. The spectacular artwork resonates with color and texture. Children will delight in the universal dream of mastering one's world by flying over it. A practical and stunningly beautiful book."--(starred) Horn Book.  

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name.

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