Author: Karen English
Francie lives with her mother and younger brother, Prez, in rural Alabama, where all three work and wait. Francie's father is trying to get settled in Chicago so he can move his family up North. Unfortunately, he's made promises he hasn't kept, and Francie painfully learns that her dreams of starting junior high school in an integrated urban classroom will go unfulfilled. Amid the day-to-day grind of working odd jobs for wealthy white folks on the other side of town, Francie becomes involved in helping a framed young black man to escape arrest—a brave gesture, but one that puts the entire black community in danger. In this vivid portrait of a girl in the pre-civil rights era South, Karen English completes Francie's world using lively vernacular and a wide array of flesh-and-blood characters.
Francie is a Coretta Scott King Honor book.
In The News
“Set sometime during the Truman administration [1945-1953], this portrait of a 12-year-old black girl in Alabama is a model of economy. Karen English compresses worlds of feeling and experience into every sequence of her first novel, offering readers not just a good diversion but an opportunity to try on someone else's skin.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Francie's smooth-flowing, well-paced narration is gently assisted by just the right touch of the vernacular. Characterization is evenhanded and believable, while place and time envelop readers. The message that one must rise out of oppression and actively seek a better life is a good one.” —School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Readers will cheer Francie and her brave mother, from whom she inherits her rare grace and honesty.” —The Horn Book
“A keenly perceptive and gutsy heroine.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“English beautifully captures the charm and peril of Francie's Alabama.” —USA Today