Vive La Paris

Esme Raji Codell
  • Review
By – December 19, 2011
Paris McCray is a fifth-grade African- Amer­i­can girl liv­ing in Chica­go with her par­ents and four old­er broth­ers. She reluc­tant­ly attends piano lessons at the home of Mrs. Rosen, an elder­ly Holo­caust sur­vivor, and ends up com­ing away with more than just an appre­ci­a­tion for music. Their stu­dent-teacher rela­tion­ship evolves into a spe­cial bond as Mrs. Rosen helps Paris apply the lessons of the Holo­caust to her own life, giv­ing her the tools to stand up to the class bul­ly, and to accept her broth­er Michael’s indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and unique spir­it. With plen­ty of charm and spunk, and an over­does of urban atti­tude, Codell cre­ates a warm, touch­ing, and humor­ous sto­ry of one girl’s jour­ney to find­ing a bal­ance between wear­ing rose-col­ored glass­es and fac­ing the world with eyes wide open. While billed as a com­pan­ion nov­el to Sahara Spe­cial (Sahara appears as one of Paris’s class­mates), the books stands strong­ly on its own. For ages 9 – 12.

Rachel Kamin is the Direc­tor of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cul­tur­al & Learn­ing Cen­ter at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, Illi­nois. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee, Rachel is cur­rent­ly the co-edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries Newslet­ter. She holds a BA in his­to­ry from Grin­nell Col­lege and a master’s degree in library and infor­ma­tion sci­ence from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michigan.

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