Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Module 7: After Tupac and D Foster

Citation: Woodson, J. (2008). After Tupac and D Foster. New York, NY: G. P. Putman’s Sons.

Summary: Two young best friend girls are surprised with a unique and fresh person entering their lives.  Her name is D Foster and she’s an easy-going and free-to-roam girl who quickly fits into their friendship and bonds with them.  They call themselves “Three the Hard Way” and they are all growing up and facing issues going on in each of their pre-teen lives.  Rapper Tupac Shakur’s music is easily relatable to D Foster and while the girls are learning about life they enjoy listening to his lyrics and melodies. But although D Foster is their close friend, the girls realize she still has a mystery about her and her foster child life.  A mystery they want to know more about.

Impression: Peace, Love and a Fun Read!

I love this story because I felt like it took me back to my own childhood.  You know those free from worry days, but on strict rules all the while some of my friends were those D Foster types of free to roam and do whatever they please.  I was that main character and was able to relate to her even more because of growing up on Tupac’s music. I would say it’s a fun read because it touches on so many topics of interest to young readers: family members in jail, being a foster child, abiding by parent rules, and friendships.  

Reviews: Gr 6-10-- D Foster, Neeka, and an unnamed narrator grow from being 11 to 13 with Tupac Shakur's music, shootings, and legal troubles as the backdrop. Neeka and the narrator have lived on the same block forever and are like sisters, but foster child D shows up during the summer of 1994, while she is out "roaming." D immediately finds a place in the heart of the other girls, and the "Three the Hard Way" bond over their love of Tupac's music. It seems especially relevant to D, who sees truth in his lyrics, having experienced the hard life herself in group homes and with multiple foster families. Woodson's spare, poetic, language and realistic Queens, NY, street vernacular reveal a time and a relationship, each chapter a vignette depicting an event in the lives of the girls and evoking mood more than telling a story. In this urban setting, there are, refreshingly, caring adults and children playing on the street instead of drug dealers on every corner. Readers are right on the block with bossy mothers, rope-jumping girls, and chess-playing elders. With Tupac's name and picture on the cover, this slim volume will immediately appeal to teens, and the emotions and high-quality writing make it a book well worth recommending. By the end, readers realize that, along with the girls, they don't really know D at all. As she says, "I came on this street and y'all became my friends. That's the D puzzle." And readers will find it a puzzle well worth their time.

Vikstrom, K. (2008). After Tupac and D Foster. School Library Journal, 54(4), 154.

Gr. 6–9.“The summer before D Foster’s real mama came and took her away, Tupac wasn’t dead yet.” From this first line in her quiet, powerful novel, Woodson cycles backward through the events that lead to dual tragedies: a friend’s departure and a hero’s death. In a close-knit African American neighborhood in Queens, New York, the unnamed narrator lives across from her best friend, Neeka. Then D Foster wanders onto the block, and the three 11-year-old girls quickly become inseparable. Because readers know from the start where the plot is headed, the characters and the community form the focus here. A subplot about Neeka’s older brother, a gay man serving prison time after being framed for a hate crime, sometimes threatens to overwhelm the girls’ story. But Woodson balances the plotlines with subtle details, authentic language, and rich development. Beautifully capturing the girls’ passage from childhood to adolescence, this is a memorable, affecting novel about the sustaining power of love and friendship and each girl’s developing faith in her own “BigPurpose.”

Engberg, G. (2008). After Tupac and D Foster. Booklist, 104(11), 51.

Use in Library: -Perfect book to pair with a poetry unit for middle school ages.  Tupac’s musical lyrics are poetry and students will be easily interested with this particular poet.  Students could also write poems to go along with the book possibly from the characters perspectives.

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