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Hattie Percha Hattie Percha wants nothing form than to live a normal teenage life--pep rallies with her best friends, Crackers and Beverly, a date to the Homecoming Dance, maybe even a steady boyfriend--and leave her compulsion for activism behind. But giving up her social conscience proves harder than she imagines. When Crackers' step-brother Issac goes MIA in Vietnam, Hattie can't ignore the pull to learn more about the war and find a way to ease Crackers' pain as she wrestles with the possible loss of her brother. Hattie organizes a Moratorium Day at school in search of the truth, only to discover there are no definitive answers to the burning questions of her freshman year: Is Vietnam our war to fight? Should the government force young men to fight a war they don't believe in? Are we saving America's future by allowing young men to die?Steeped with rich memories and the confusion of 1960 and 1970s America, Battle Lines is sure to make you laugh, think intensely, and feel penetrating heartache. Sometimes the most sought after answers are painfully elusive.
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The Dream Girls are back.
As Hattie faces a lifetime of blindness, Crackers deals with the possibility of a new family member, and Beverly is accused of a shocking crime. The pressure of these looming crises creates a rift among the friends and outside forces push them apart. The girls encounter their worst nightmares as they battle individual obstacles without each other’s support or encouragement. A miserable Hattie refuses to accept the inevitable—she can’t live without her precious Dream Girls. She will do anything to prove Beverly’s innocence and remain true to Crackers, even though they disagree. In her loneliness and desperation, Hattie conjures up an ingenious plan and convinces Beverly and Crackers to participate.
But time is running out—the odds are stacked against them. Can they save their friendship before it’s too late? #friendshipiscolorblind
A Reader’s Favorite
BETWEEN THE LINES
Between the Lines tells the story of three girls who become friends during the racially-charged aftermath of the 1967 Detroit Riots.
Hattie Percha is crushed when the riots start on her tenth birthday, and when she must move away from her treasured childhood home and friends, attending public school for the first time, she’s afraid her life is over. Then, she meets Beverly Jo Nichols, her first black friend, and Crackers, a fearless tomboy. Despite opposition from Hattie’s mother and a racist teacher, the unlikely friends join forces. As the self-proclaimed Dream Girls, they challenge bigotry and intolerance, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto what’s most precious to them all, their friendship.
Growing up in Detroit, I was always concerned about differences and wanted life to be fair. I’m not sure if I was born this way or if my upbringing rooted this belief in me, but it didn’t take long for me to learn that life is anything but fair. Still, I made it my personal mission to try and help people settle their differences in an equitable manner, and be kind to everyone, no matter how different they were from me.
When the Detroit riots started on my fifteenth birthday, like Hattie, I was devastated. But the riots also cemented this sense of wonder in me. Why couldn’t all people get along?
Crackers, Beverly, and I met in college, and when I came to write a novel for my students, I couldn’t think of a better place to begin than with a story inspired by our true friendship, one that has lasted for over forty years.
Some people would call me naïve, I suppose, but I firmly believe that with the right education, much like Jane Elliot’s diversity training, we could learn to celebrate differences and live together in peace. I’m sure that my sense of fairness, my fascination with learning more about how all of us negotiate the world, and my desire to make a difference led me to teaching and to the field of special education.
Writing Between the Lines was a somewhat selfish endeavor for me. Now I can spend more time back in the classroom, where my heart belongs.