Sticky Subjects in Tar Beach

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. Crown, 1991.

A bold opening paired with dramatic illustrations.

Poverty without self-pity.

The story opens with a dream, immediately pulling the child in via fantasy. It is true to her life, but seen as she would see it, without self-awareness. The quilts and fantasy are used to deal with the heroine’s difficult emotions (she is a true heroine) and to give her beauty and hope. Startlingly real, honest, lovely.

This book is a model for handling difficult topics like race, poverty for the very young. There's no preaching, only relationship. Story builds connections; books like this give me hope for the future.