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Kizzy Ann Stamps: A Journey of Self Acceptance (Book Review)

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts

Age: 9-12

Grade 4-7

Publisher: Candlewick Press

I was so excited to receive this book from Candlewick Press! I was first drawn to the cover with the beautiful girl and her precious Collie, but this book is so much more than just a pretty cover!

Kizzy Ann Stamps is a student who readers will feel connected to immediately. Although she's living at a different time, we can all relate to the battles (and adventures) Kizzy faces.

It's 1963 and Kizzy will be attending a newly integrated school in Virginia. Kizzy's story is told through letters and journal entries that she writes to her white teacher. Kizzy leans on her own resilience along with the love of her dog Shag, to handle the tough situations she faces as a 12 year old black girl at a new mostly white school.

Since the story tackles difficult subjects such as segregation, racism, and civil rights, it can be tough to read sometimes. Still, I highly recommend this story for a few reasons.

1. The story gives a peek into how racism affects children and how children handled life in the Civil Rights Era.

2. The story is inspiring as we watch Kizzy hold strong to who she is despite the negativity and racism she faces.

3. We see how important it is to create a safe space for children through the support Kizzy's white teacher provides.

Prevalent racism threatens Kizzy’s aspirations, as well as those of her athletic older brother, but with help from within and without—as well as the support of her beloved border collie, Shag—Kizzy prevails, and does so triumphantly. Watts offers an evenhanded, insightful evocation of a turbulent time and of a girl’s perseverance, with Kizzy’s writing exposing both widespread prejudice and the determination and will that countered it. (Publishers Weekly)

Have you read Kizzy Ann Stamps? What did you think?


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