Miles from Motown

Fitzroy Bks. Aug. 2021. 224p. pap. $16.95. ISBN 9781646030644.
Gr 4-6–It’s the summer of 1967 and rising seventh grader Georgia’s life is changing in this coming-of-age novel in verse. Her family is moving from Detroit to an unfamiliar suburb seven miles away. Even though the move isn’t far, Georgia is upset that her parents won’t tell her the reason for the move and is devastated to move away from her best friend Ceci, her Aunt Birdie, and her beloved Detroit neighborhood. At the end of the school year, Georgia entered the “Spirit of Detroit Poetry Contest” judged by her idol poet Gwendolyn Brooks—she had to lie to enter (it is only for residents of Detroit) by using Aunt Birdie’s address. In her new neighborhood, Georgia makes friends with Naomi, her first white friend, who attends the same summer day camp but also faces racial bullying from some of the other kids in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Georgia’s oldest brother Ty is in Vietnam and her brother Jerome is also upset about the move and having to switch schools prior to his varsity senior year baseball season. Juggling being the new kid in town, balancing friends old and new, and trying to intercept the contest announcement from her aunt’s mailbox keeps Georgia busy. Lyrical prose keeps the story moving and readers will be rooting for Georgia to win. Georgia and her family are Black and Naomi is white. Their new neighborhood is predominately white.
VERDICT An additional historical fiction purchase that will resonate with readers facing change as Georgia builds resiliency.

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