I was very excited about this online reading project and spent days trying to decide which book to begin reading first. As the mother of four children, I have read bits and pieces and chapters of many of these award-winning books. Working in a Curriculum Materials Library at a University, I have easy access to all of them. So I remained undecided for weeks.
Then one of my daily patrons returned Strawberry Girl because she just did not think she could complete it for her Elementary Education class project because of the dialect used by the characters. I was intrigued. So the decision was made and I began to read. Unlike other librarians, I love to write notes in my personal books, but I was using the library copy and got my paper and pencil ready to jot down notes about my favorite lines or passages. The dialect did not bother me at all, but I must admit that no one passage struck me as note worthy. This disappointed me a bit.
Ever optimistc, I tried to think of the time when the book was written and find some connection to my own life. I was raised in Florida, but my family's roots are in rural Tennessee. My mother was a sharecropper during the 1930s and in many ways, this was the lens through which I read this book. My mother's family was very poor, but they found joy in many aspects of their lives. The children only went to school when all of the work was done and never went when there was cotton to be picked. Even so, they all graduated from high school and some graduated from college. Family and friends meant everything to these Tennessee rural folk, but feuds ran deep.
Published in 1945, I think this book might have resonated with some children. But in today's world, I am not so sure. I did not dislike this book, and was rather charmed by the dialect, but did not find it remarkable.