Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Classroom Discussion Prompt for Black History Month

Many teachers and librarians have been kind enough to tell me that my book, Lunch-Box Dream (Farrar 2011) is a great start to classroom discussion about civl rights for readers ages 10 and up. 

Here are some excerpts from reviews:

  • “Abbott’s true-to-life descriptions and complicated story lines set in the volatile, pre-Civil Rights era will leave readers with much to think about and discuss when considering race relations in our country’s history.” —School Library Journal

  • “Beautifully crafted and written.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • “This tale, based in part on Abbott’s memories of a childhood road trip, could fuel avid classroom discussion or quiet personal reflection.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

  • “With every narrative turn, Tony Abbott brings these never-before-seen perspectives into view in this moving civil rights kaleidoscope. Untold. Unforgettable.” —Rita Williams-Garcia, author of One Crazy Summer

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Here's a strong list for books with Civil Rights themes blogged by Pragmatic Mom.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The paperback edition of Lunch-Box Dream is now available. It is published by Square Fish, an imprint of MacMillan. ISBN 978-1-250-01668-3. It includes "Go Fish: Questions for the Author" bonus material. It also tells us there's a discussion guide for Lunch-Box Dream at their website:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dalton, Georgia, which features prominently in Lunch-Box Dream, is the focus of a New York Times article today. The city has been sorely troubled by the economic downturn:
In Carpet Capital of the World Housing Fallout Continues

Friday, July 6, 2012

Images of Segregation Signs for Classroom Discussion

For the use of teachers and students in prompting classroom discussion related to the characters' experiences in Lunch-Box Dream, here are some old photographic images of actual signs from the Jim-Crow period of American history.

Also, here is a teacher's website with background on the subject and a lesson plan for middle school use: Segregation in America from the 1870s through the 1950s; Mrs. DePietro, Dr. Weeks at Lincoln Middle School (New York state). Many thanks to these insightful educators.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Flag Day

Visiting Civil War battlefields as part of my research for Lunch-Box Dream graphically drove home for me and my wife the point that soldiers who fought had travelled to these fields of conflict from all over the United States. Monuments with the names of the many states testify to this fact.

Here is a beautifully illustrated article about the Flags of the First Day that appeared at the Battle of Gettysburg, posted by the Civil War Trust on their website.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Lunch-Box Dream, by Tony Abbott. FSG/Foster, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-34673-7

Set in the summer of 1959, Abbott’s sophisticated novel explores racial and family tensions, as well as death, through several perspectives. The primary narrator is Bobby, who does not like being around “chocolate” people, and who is on a road trip with his mother and older brother, Ricky, returning his recently widowed grandmother to her home in Florida. As a reward for the long hot drive, they visit Civil War battlefields between Ohio and Florida, feeding Ricky’s obsession with the history of that conflict and fueling Bobby’s uneasiness around death. Interspersed with the recounting of their journey is the story of a black family in Georgia, movingly told in small fragments by a variety of first-person voices. (The book helpfully opens with a list of the characters and their relationships—an essential resource.) In the final scenes, the separate stories converge, with subtle finesse, in one small, iconic physical gesture. Throughout, Abbott (Firegirl) builds an increasingly disturbing undercurrent of racial conflict, sibling distrust, and marital discord. Although beautifully crafted and written, the book’s emotional complexity and unsettling tone will likely prove challenging (in multiple senses of the word) for the target audience. Ages 10–14. (July) --Publishers Weekly