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The Resource The red rose box, Brenda Woods

The red rose box, Brenda Woods

Label
The red rose box
Title
The red rose box
Statement of responsibility
Brenda Woods
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
In 1953, Leah Hopper dreams of leaving the poverty and segregation of her home in Sulphur, Louisiana, and when Aunt Olivia sends train tickets to Los Angeles as part of her tenth birthday present, Leah gets a first taste of freedom
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Gr. 5-8. “This is your box of femininity,” reads 10-year-old Leah when a rose-patterned case arrives on her birthday. Along with silk and jewelry, there are train tickets for Leah, younger sister Ruth, and their mother to travel from Sulphur, Louisiana, to Los Angeles, to visit long-estranged Aunt Olivia. It’s 1953, and Leah is amazed by California. There are no Jim Crow laws, and Aunt Olivia and her husband live in a home as luxurious as the rose box. Still, Leah misses what’s familiar. Later, when the girls visit their aunt and uncle on their own, a tragic event takes their home and their parents, and the girls move permanently to Los Angeles. In language made musical with southern phrases, this first novel shapes the era and characters with both well-chosen particulars and universal emotions. Some of the transitions between events feel too brief, and the tragedy is heavily foreshadowed. But young readers will connect with Leah and feel her difficult pull between freedom, comfort, and her deeply felt roots. (Reviewed June 1, 2002) -- Gillian Engberg
  • Gr 4-6 –Leah Hopper and her younger sister, Ruth, live in segregated rural Louisiana in the early 1950s. For her 10th birthday, the older girl receives a traveling case–a "red rose box"–from her mother's wealthy sister. Among other treasures, it contains train tickets for a family visit in Los Angeles. A long-lasting rift between Aunt Olivia and the children's mother is finally mended during the reunion. In L.A. there is no sign of the racial prejudice that the Hoppers are so accustomed to as a black family in the South, and the girls reluctantly return home. Later, during a trip to New York City with Aunt Olivia and Uncle Bill, they feel the same way, and then a hurricane strikes their hometown, killing their parents. With this devastating loss, the sisters realize that riches and comforts cannot substitute for the kind of family life they had. This is a bittersweet story with good descriptions of settings; a skillful use of figurative language; and well-realized, believable characters. Ruth is the embodiment of a sassy eight-year-old and the adults are genuine, loving, and supportive. The one false note is the portrayal of race relations as near perfect outside the South. This story of grief and loss ends on a hopeful note and will appeal to readers.–Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC --Bruce Anne Shook (Reviewed June 1, 2002) (School Library Journal, vol 48, issue 6, p149)
  • Woods's moving first novel opens in sleepy Sulphur, La., in June 1953, when Leah receives a 10th birthday present from her estranged aunt in Los Angeles: a traveling case covered with red roses. The gift holds treasures the likes of which Leah has never seen: costume jewelry, a pink silk bed jacket ("like what rich white women wears b'fore bed at night," her grandmother tells Leah and her sister), pink satin slippers, nail polish, lipstick. A letter of apology from Leah's aunt to Leah's mother occasions a visit to L.A. with her mother, grandmother and younger sister, and Leah revels in the luxuries of her aunt's privileged world, a stark contrast to the subsistent lifestyle the child knows. Exposure to the freedom from segregation that exists south of the Mason-Dixon line also makes a dramatic impression on the heroine. After the girls' parents perish in a hurricane and the siblings move into the elegant home of kind Olivia and her husband, the youngsters want for nothing. Yet Leah's thoughts of her parents and past haunt her constantly: "It felt like I was a million miles from Sulphur and crayfish, cotton fields and hand-me-down clothes, a one-room schoolhouse, segregation, and Jim Crow. But I knew one thing. I knew that I would gladly give up this new comfort and freedom to be in my mama's arms, to feel the tenderness in my daddy's touch one more time." Though the repetition of similar reflections occasionally slackens the pace of Woods's narrative, she creates some memorable characters, especially Leah, and probes historical events in a personal context that may open many readers' eyes. Ages 10-up. (May) --Staff (Reviewed May 20, 2002) (Publishers Weekly, vol 249, issue 20, p66)
  • Leah Hopper lives in tiny Sulphur, Louisiana, at a time when Jim Crow laws reign supreme. But she dreams of becoming a teacher, and although she is nurtured by a tender, loving family, she knows that this dream might be unattainable if she remains in the South. She gets a first glimpse of the world beyond via a family visit to her well-to-do Aunt Olivia in glamorous Los Angeles, where her eyes are opened to the possibilities of freedom. While accompanying their aunt on a trip to New York, Leah and her younger sister Rose hear the terrible news that a deadly hurricane has struck Sulphur, killing both their parents, as well as many friends and neighbors. The sisters must begin new lives in California while dealing with their devastating loss. Woods allows Leah to tell her own story, using the language with which she is most comfortable. Her dialect and syntax change, and she carefully corrects herself as she gains more education and experience. She sees clearly and notices everything. She paints a picture of every character down to the exact skin shade and hairstyle. Her power of description is so strong that the reader feels the searing heat and poverty of rural Louisiana and her amazement at the startling richness and openness of California. She shares her grief and guilt over her belief that her parents' death has allowed her to escape from poverty and racism. This is a work that beautifully and accurately evokes a particularly painful and hopeful time through an insider's eyes, and yet it is also a timeless, universal tale of a young girl's road to maturity. An impressive debut. (Fiction. 10-14) (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
082002
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Woods, Brenda
Index
no index present
Intended audience
830L
Intended audience source
Lexile
Interest level
MG
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 4
  • 6
Reading level
4.9
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader AR
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Segregation
  • African Americans
  • Sisters
  • Louisiana
  • Los Angeles (Calif.)
Target audience
pre adolescent
Label
The red rose box, Brenda Woods
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
428234
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
136 pages
Isbn
9780399237027
Lccn
2001018354
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780399237027
  • (Sirsi) ADF-8880
Label
The red rose box, Brenda Woods
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
428234
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
136 pages
Isbn
9780399237027
Lccn
2001018354
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780399237027
  • (Sirsi) ADF-8880

Library Locations

    • Twin Oaks BranchBorrow it
      1800 S. Fifth St., Austin, TX, 78704, US
      30.2486884 -97.76239749999999
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