Jesse Jackson MAY HILL ARBUTHNOT and ZENA SUTHERLAND - Essay

MAY HILL ARBUTHNOT and ZENA SUTHERLAND

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Jesse Jackson has given a full and moving account of the kind of discriminations a black child may encounter. In Call Me Charley … the young black, the only one in the neighborhood, is not welcome in the school but is tolerated. He has some bitter disappointments but gradually wins the respect and friendship of some of the boys. It is a touching story made more poignant by Charley's quiet, patient acceptance of his lot…. The author has too realistic an approach to suggest a complete solution, but he tells a good story of a brave, likable boy in a difficult world.

Charley Starts from Scratch …, a sequel, finds Charley graduated from high school and trying to find a job in a strange city. Many doors are closed to him, but coming in first in Olympic trials gives Charley fresh courage and convinces several employers of the boy's worth and perseverance. Like the first book, this story is sensitively told.

Tessie … is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl in Harlem who wins a scholarship to an all-white private school. Her parents are apprehensive, but Tessie is determined to use her educational opportunity even if it means social rebuffs—as it does, both from her new schoolmates and from her old friends. The development is believable, with actions that proceed logically from attitudes and motivations, so that Tessie's firm insistence on making the best of both her worlds is natural. (p. 457)

May Hill Arbuthnot and Zena Sutherland, in their Children and Books (copyright © 1947, 1957, 1964, 1972 by Scott, Foresman and Company; reprinted by permission), fourth edition, Scott, Foresman, 1972.