“Tutored” by Allison Whittenberg
Delacorte Press, 2010
Wendy has always known the good life – her father saw to that. He was a Black man who’d pulled himself out of poverty by his bootstraps, and made sure she realized that people who lived in poor neighborhoods weren’t worth her time and effort. He also didn’t want her going to a Historically Black College because she was “better” than that.
Wendy didn’t agree with any of his views, feeling he was prejudiced against his own people and, partly to spite him, and partly because she wanted to, began volunteering at an inner city tutoring center.
After aging out of foster care, Hakiam moved to Philadelphia to start a new life. The new life he expected didn’t materialize as survival depended on living in cramped quarters with his selfish cousin in return for taking care of her baby.
Wendy and Hakiam’s worlds collide when they meet at the tutoring center and, despite their initial misgivings and cultural differences, find a way to bond. As they get to know one another, Wendy’s relationship with her father gets rockier, but she’s determined to show him (and herself) that she is more than the color of her skin.
Reviewed by Alma Ramos-McDermott; Library Teacher; Pollard Middle School, Needham, Massachusetts.
January 27, 2011