Morning in a Different Place may be one of the most important books that will never be widely read by those who need it most. Set in the Kennedy presidency, it describes the relationship of two girls- one black, one white- and their families. But it is more than a story in a critical period of our nation’s history; it is a story about race, families, and struggle that is timeless, and that is important.
People who grew up in the sixties may not have realized that the situation experienced by Yolanda and Fiona even existed. Family violence and racial concerns were often matters discussed behind closed doors. The idealistic families of the fifties were still prevalent in the sixties. Even well intentioned middle class working families conspired to keep socially embarrassing events secret.
Yet, the Kennedy administration offered new hope for families that transcended racial and social lines. Those lines spread from Appalachia to the largest urban centers and beyond. People had hope.
Hope disappeared for many people on November 22, 1963 and the next day automatically became different.
Middle school and high school students will understand the book. Their teachers, parents and grandparents also need to read it and talk about with them. The book is a great candidate for an entire community to read and discuss. It is a superb social commentary on the times that profoundly influenced a nation.
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