Blogging 'Bout Books

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cashay by Margaret McMullan. Houghton Mifflin, April, 2009. $15.00. Ages 12 and up.

“I wore these shoes when Cashay got shot, I say, and the both of them shut up. “The soles soaked up her blood. That’s why they’re brown. You could see my footprints walking all
around her body, then the footprints walked away from her. I know because I looked back and saw.”
This compelling book portrays life for many young people who spent their lives in the infamous public housing project Cabrini Green in Chicago. Cashy, Sashay and their mom were getting along even though live was difficult. Mom, a former addict got clean and became a hairdresser. The girls had a home, food on the table and school was important. Their neighborhood was tough, but the girls were street smart. One day their lives were shattered by a bullet from a drive-by shooting. Sashay lay dead on the sidewalk, an innocent victim, gunned down in her youth. Mom consoles herself by going back to the crack pipe. Cashay becomes the responsible person and tried to cook, clean and take care of her mom who quickly loses her job. The school guidance counselor signs Cashay up for an afterschool program at a church because she knows the girl is bright and has remarkable potential. Sashay is less than thrilled, but then she meets her mentor, Allison, who is a stockbroker. She teaches Cashay about the stock market and investments and to believe in herself. It is a realistic, tough story that is played out everyday in many cities in our country. This would be a good addition to any middle school or high school library.

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