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"Not the most popular kid in sixth grade, Bird feels a kinship with Harlem, a new boy in her class who is shunned because he "looks mean and acts dumb." With the help of her kindly neighbor, Miss Delphine, Bird starts a campaign to befriend Harlem. The process begins haltingly, but Bird is triumphant when he agrees to be her partner in the school spelling bee. Bird soon learns that becoming Harlem's friend requires work and courage, but it also brings surprising revelations and unexpected payoffs. Told from Bird's point of view, the narrative unfolds in a finely tuned voice that alternates between hope and disappointment, stubbornness and vulnerability, self-awareness and kindness. This short novel beautifully portrays Bird's strongest emotions: her love for Miss Delphine and her longing for Harlem's friendship. On a practical note, O'Connor's account of the positive changes in Harlem's life that result from his getting eyeglasses may reassure some children who need glasses but are reluctant to wear them. From the author of Moon Pie and Ivy (2001) and Me and Rupert Goody (1999), this is an involving story with a small-town southern setting and a sympathetic heroine."

"...unique characters and humor spell out a winner."

"A sibling rivalry story of a different sort, this gracefully written novel deals with the basic needs for connection and understanding."  

Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia
FS&G, 2003
Frances Foster Books
Jacket art: Greg Swearingen
ISBN 978-0-37432-258-8
PB 978-0-37440-018-7
Ages 8-12
Teachers' Guide

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