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A Friendship For Today

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  834 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
From highly acclaimed, award-winning author Patricia McKissack comes a powerful, poignant, and timely tale of segregation, family, and one surprising friendship.

The year is 1954, the place is Missouri, and twelve-year-old Rosemary Patterson is about to make history. She is one of the first African American students to enter the white school in her town. Headstrong, smart R
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press
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Apr 03, 2007 Jennie rated it really liked it
A look at integration in the St. Louis area.

Rosemary is not entirely sure why all the adults in her life are so excited about integration. All she knows is that she will be the only black kid in all of 6th grade at her new school. Plus, she has to sit by Grace the Tasteless, the white girl from the next street over that torments her all the time.

At school, Rosemary finds out that Grace is also an outcast, because she's "poor white trash" and an uneasy friendship blooms.

McKissak is a wonderful (
Abby Johnson
May 04, 2007 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
It's the last day of school, 1954, and Rosemary has just learned that next year she'll be going to a brand new integrated school. She's a little nervous about it, but everyone keeps telling her now nice this new school will be and how it's a great opportunity. Rosemary's sure she can handle it as long as her best friend J.J. is by her side. But then just before school starts, J.J. is stricken with polio and Rosemary learns that she'll be going to this new school by herself, the only black kid in ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Mechele R. Dillard for

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States made a historic ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education: Segregation of public schools was declared unconstitutional. And, like so many others, the life of twelve-year-old Rosemary Patterson was forever changed.

Rosemary doesn't really care for the idea of her school being closed just because of the decision. "If white people want to go to school with us so much, seems to me all t
Aug 16, 2008 Terri rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: grades 4-8
McKissack draws from her memories of her experience as the first African-American in an integrated elementary school to tell a fictional tale of Rosemary Patterson, a young black girl whose world is radically altered when the all-black school closes in 1954 and she enrolls in 6th grade at a brand-new school. Shortly before school begins Rosemary's best friend J.J. beats her fair and square in a foot race, and Rosemary discovers she does not like to lose. But she loses much more than a race when ...more
Nov 10, 2008 Bev rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book yesterday and have already encouraged the 5th grade teachers in my school to use it along with their Civil Rights Unit! It is a profound story told simply and beautifully through the eyes of an intelligent, thoughtful twelve-year-old girl in 1954 Missouri. I like the fact that race is not the only type of prejudice addressed in the story. Other tie-ins to the plot are childhood polio and the universal difficulties of divorce. Each issue is addressed with honesty and sen ...more
Jun 26, 2009 Marfita rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
Must stop sitting at Children's Room desk crying over books! Went to pieces totally upon discovery that the part about the cat was true.
Rosemary's got a lot going on in her life. Her best friend has polio, now she has to start in an integrated school without him and be the only black child in the class, her parents' marriage is crumbling, and the cat is dying! Can she survive?
McKissick's portrayal of a 6th grader is pretty authentic. She wants to lash back when she's harassed. She thinks unkind
Jul 12, 2009 Regina rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Regina by: 2010 Children's Sequoyah Masterlist
Looking at the cover, you'd never guess that Friendship for Today is historical fiction. It looks contemporary, and that might help to get more kids (girls?) to read it. They will be glad they did. This book is set in Kirkland, MO, during the 1954-1955 school year, when Rosemary Patterson finds herself at a brand-new school, in the first year of integration, as the only African-American student in her 6th grade class. Her best friend J.J. should have been in her class, but he was stricken with p ...more
Autumn Thetford
Oct 10, 2009 Autumn Thetford rated it really liked it
This is on the Charlie May Simon list this year. It is a good historical fiction taking place in the 1950s in Missouri. It's parallel to the author's life she states in the afterward. The whole book is centered around black students integrating with white students and what life was actually like in a Missouri classroom during that era. Also during this time many people were becoming ill with and dying from polio. I didn't know polio crippled children and adults so quickly. Thankfully, Jonas Salk ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Judine rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This is a quick, interesting read about a school system in Missouri integrating in 1954. Rosemary, a smart, funny fifth grade class president at her black school has to deal with being the only African-American student in her newly integrated school. We witness Rosemary's struggles with prejudice in the classroom (in the form of Katherine, whose father is ironically an attorney who helps with civil rights cases), in the school system (while teacher and principal are wonderful, the placement offi ...more
Loosely based on the author's childhood experiences in Kirkland, Missouri, A Friendship for Today is the story about a time in American history when changes were slow, but mighty. Rosemary Patterson is the only African-American student in her sixth-grade class, yet she finds both bigotry and tolerance in her classmates. But, most amazingly of all, she finds friendship in a classmate named Grace, whose family is the most bigoted of all.

Complicating matters is that Rosemary's best friend, J.J. ha
Jan 04, 2011 Nicole rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It was totally different than what I thought it was going to be. And I also think the cover is very misleading. First it looks like the book takes place in today time. But it does not! It takes place in the 50s in a newly integrated town. And it's the trials of the black female protagonist. I really appreciate that they also put in how hard it was to be a woman in those times too! So she had her race and her gender working against her. Things that made me go UGH!! : "You're fa ...more
Mar 21, 2010 H rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-caudills
generally a often told tale in "serious" children's literature, this is the tale of Rosemary Patterson, a black girl in 1954-1955 Missouri who becomes the only black student in her class as the schools obey the integration order of the Supreme Court. Slowly, Rosemary forges an unlikely friendship with Grace Hamilton, the "poor white trash" child of a ferociously prejudiced family. Both new girls, ostracized by the popular group, somehow find each other. McKissack says in the afterword that this ...more
While Rosemary attended an all-black elementary school, she is now one of only a handful of black students chosen to be a part of the first integrated school in her town, and she is the only black girl in her 6th grade class. She proves herself to be strong, both academically and emotionally, as she excels in her studies and opens herself up to making new friends despite preconceived notions of bigotry held by some of her classmates. Many characters defy stereotypes, and this novel is uplifting ...more
May 04, 2010 KMGelabert rated it it was amazing
SUMMARY: Rosemary is a colored girl and when she finds out that her best friend has polio she is very scared.

"Let me explain. Grace and i had a friendship for today....
But out friendship is for always. Even though you are a boy, you are my best friend forever. Okay?"
"If you insist," he says, smiling.

REASON: I choose this passage because it explains the title. This was my favorite part in the book because i really liked how Rosemary said that she had a good friendship
Jun 24, 2010 Ilona rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jill by: Caudill 2011 list
Shelves: civil-rights
I actually liked this more than I thought I would.

It's about a girl who was one of the first students to go to an integrated school in Missouri. I think the author did a good job of capturing the feeling of the time - although there were probably MANY more outspoken racist people than she depicted in the book. The author also did a great job of making the book historically accurate, which I appreciated. The side story of her parents' divorce was fine. Not totally necessary, but it didn't take a
Rosemary Patterson is excited when she learns that she’ll be attending a new school in the fall. It’s 1954 and the Kirkland Board of Education has just announced that all of the schools will be integrated. But the experience is not quite what Rosemary expected. She’s one of the only black students in 6th grade (her best friend J.J. comes down with polio and misses out on the whole year), and at first, none of the other kids want anything to do with her. It’s particularly difficult for Rosemary, ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Jenny rated it really liked it
This is a good book. I very much liked reading from the perspective of a child, illustrating that sometimes the "explanations" adults give to kids make no sense to kids, while at the same time kids are much more aware of and capable of understanding things than adults give them credit for.
May 09, 2011 Karina2nd rated it it was amazing
Rosemary is going to start school at a school that use to be an ' all white' school. She is really nervous and some what scared to start this school. the good thing about it, is that she will not be going to this school alone. Her best friend is going to attend this school with her, until they found out that her friend got diagnosed with polio. Rosemary has to face the school alone, being the only and the first African American student it the whole town to join a school that use to be and all wh ...more
Jan 30, 2012 Kat rated it liked it
What I didn't like about this book: I don't think I got as much out of this book as I could've. It was a light alternative read as I was waiting for a book to come out of 'on hold'. I felt that at the end *spoiler* (view spoiler) I also felt that she didn't explore the relationship with J.J as much as she could've. It just seemed like she was: I AM FRIENDS WITH JJ END OF STORY. Especially since all they seem ...more
This isn't my kind of book.

I think I picked this up as a freebie from Scholastic. That was about the time CLI was the rage in my school. As part of that, we were encouraged to complete author studies. We were provided a set of books of an author. The one I received was Patricia McKissack. I have enjoyed her other books so thought this one might be okay.

But it's still not my kind of book. Race relations and girls. Yuck!

Not wanting to list another of my books on the "Do Not Plan to Read" list, I
Mar 07, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
gr 5-8

1954 Missouri. When 12 year old Rosemary starts sixth grade it is at a new integrated school instead of her old elementary school. The adults in her community are excited about the integration having fought for it for years, but Rosemary isn't so sure. Of the two integrated schools, only a handful of her classmates are being sent to Adams Elementary School. Rosemary and her best friend JJ will be the only two African American students in the sixth grade. When JJ contracts polio, Rosemary m
Miss Amanda
gr 5-8

1954 Missouri. When 12 year old Rosemary starts sixth grade it is at a new integrated school instead of her old elementary school. The adults in her community are excited about the integration having fought for it for years, but Rosemary isn't so sure. Of the two integrated schools, only a handful of her classmates are being sent to Adams Elementary School. Rosemary and her best friend JJ will be the only two African American students in the sixth grade. When JJ contracts polio, Rosemary m
Oct 31, 2013 KerriRowland rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
A Friendship for Today written Patricia C. McKissack, takes place in 1954 in the state of Missouri. The story is of a 12-year-old girl named Rosemary, who is one of the first African American students to enter the white school in town. Rosemary is up for the challenge and even excited until her very best friend is diagnosed with polio. She encounters a mean; racist girl by the name of Grace Hamilton and what the reader thinks will happen with their friendship is the complete opposite. The school ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it
I great introduction for kids to the racial tensions of the 1950s. The author draws on her own experiences of being integrated into a mostly white school in Kirkland, Missouri. The "trueness" of the book gives it depth that many other books don't have. Really liked this one.
Jun 13, 2016 Krista rated it liked it
Shelves: caudill-2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2016 Malayna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was so amazing!

It was a true eye-opener for me to learn about how people, especially kids, felt about integration for the first time.

I think that this book truly was a great reading experience. It was also one of those books where you can easily empathize with the characters, especially Rosemary. I LOVED IT!
Sep 17, 2016 Zeb rated it it was amazing
It has everything a youth novel should have. I really loved reading it, as an adult. The author cleverly sets the scene with listing the prices for a few items in 1954, where the novel tells us of a year in the life of Rosemarie - this is largely autobiographical, with some liberties taken as an author to change things. I wonder if she was such a fast runner in her real life or if this would have been her dearest wish? The book very sensitively and - well, cleverly, ( I already used that word on ...more
Oct 06, 2016 Dejavuy115 rated it really liked it
This book is about a american american girl who in is in the 5th going to 6th grade when the court just announced no more segregation.Nut she had no worries because she knew she'd have her best friend J.J on her side. But that summer J.J got Polio( a disease that killed many people) and was paralyzed from the waist down. So then she started to worry. On the first day of school she was in a class with no black kids and people were treating her like some type of animal,and the girl who always bull ...more
Hyorim Choi
Oct 19, 2016 Hyorim Choi rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book very much. It gave me precious lessons about racism and friendship.
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