Ciara's Reviews > Happy Birthday, Addy!: A Springtime Story

Happy Birthday, Addy! by Connie Rose Porter
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Dec 19, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: kids-books, read-in-2011
Read in December, 2011

i'm glad i finally got my mitts on this book, because i was wondering about the logistics of the walkers living in mrs. ford's garret apartment now that mr. walker had been reunited with the family. this book opens with the information that the walkers have re-located to a boardinghouse owned by a family named golden. i imagine they have a bit more space & privacy from one another there. the goldens serve meals to their boarders, & addy is the only child living there. every time someone new moves in, addy hopes it will be a family with a child she can befriend, but the newcomer in this book is an old blind woman named m'dear (i REALLY wish she had a real name)--mr. golden's mother.

addy makes the acquaintance of m'dear when she is lured to her doorway by the singing m'dear's canary, sunny. m'dear observes that addy has the accent of someone who was born into slavery. addy confirms this & explains that she & her mama ran away to freedom & are still hoping to be reunited with sam & esther. m'dear tells addy that she was born free, but her parents had been slaves before escaping to philadelphia. she tells addy all about growing up in philadelphia during colonial times. yeah, m'dear is wicked old. addy comments that she doesn't know her birthday--all she knows is that she was born in the springtime. m'dear tells addy she should choose a day & have a party.

while all of this is going on, there is unrest on the city streetcars. people of color have to ride on the outside platform even when there are plenty of empty seats inside & some people are starting to get angry. addy observes that a lot of aspects of freedom are not quite what she anticipated. her father is having trouble finding a decent carpentry job because so few people will hire black men. the only ice cream parlor in town doesn't serve black people. addy is confused by the fact that she is free, but there is still so much she's not allowed to do, just because of the color of her skin.

m'dear gets sick & addy offers to pick up some medicine for her. she sets off with sarah to the local pharmacist, but he has stepped out. addy feels that it's crucial to get the medicine & get back to m'dear as soon as possible, so she convinces sarah that it's a great idea for them to use some of m'dear's money to take a streetcar across town to another pharmacist...even though it seems like they could have just waited for the local pharmacist to get back in the time it would take them to get across town & back. but what do i expect from children? sarah agrees & the journey across town goes smoothly. but the pharmacist in the other shop waits on all the white people before he waits on addy--even the white people who come in after addy. & he won't take the money out of her hand or put her change in her hand, like he doesn't want to touch her. & the streetcar returning to the boarding house is packed to the gills. some people on the platform start to complain & eventually the driver kicks all the black people off the streetcar. addy & sarah don't have enough money for another streetcar, so they have to walk back, which takes forever.

i...don't really know what this whole streetcar story had to do with anything, other than to illustrate racial discrimination.

anyway, a few nights later, the civil war ends. there are parades & all kinds of excitement in the streets. addy picks that day to be her birthday. her father has fixed up an old ice cream freezer & makes ice cream for everyone. m'dear gives addy some canary feathers to wear in her hair as a reminder that your spirit can soar beyond your physical limitations or something.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Happy Birthday, Addy!.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.