Alex Alfaro's Reviews > Tar Beach

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
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's review
Jan 28, 2012

Read in January, 2012

On the hot summer nights, Cassie’s family gathers on the rooftop to eat while Cassie dreams of her adventures of flying through the city. Flying is Cassie’s escape, and she allows the reader to come with her on her journeys to the George Washington Bridge, the Ice Cream Factory, and more. However, the reader is quickly brought back down to earth and made aware of the realities in Cassie’s life. Despite the magical, lighthearted aspects of the story, Tar Beach is a realistic story of the struggles of the lower class. For a young child, Cassie has complex thoughts and concerns for her mother and for her father who she knows is not allowed to join the labor union. This is an example of a point that Nodelman brings up about the apparent simplicity of children's literature that contains depth, importance, and complexity. I think that Tar Beach is a good book for children to read as a way to learn about social class and race. The beautiful illustrations and the magical elements of the story make it an enjoyable, but didactic story.

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