Burgess, Tamika

Sincerely Sicily

(2) 4-6 Sicily Jordan had been excited about starting sixth grade with her friend group, the "Tether Squad" (including coordinated "outfits for almost the entire first month"). A last-minute redistricting plan means she has to transfer to Shirley Chisholm Middle School--without her squad. She's devastated and worries about making friends with a whole new group of people. Her "It's My Culture" presentation for class results in ignorant questions about her heritage: how can she be Black and speak Spanish? Is her family really from Panama? Sicily's frustrations are compounded at home, where her beloved abuela has become increasingly vocal about her dislike of her granddaughter's braided hair, calling it "low-class and poor and ghetto." While other family members and friends provide some support and levity, it's an opportunity to write for the school's online magazine that gives the biggest boost. In searching for topics, Sicily also begins to research her culture--and discovers that her biggest advocate just might be herself. Issues of colorism, culture, and immigration are skillfully discussed, and Sicily's journal entries introduce the rich history of Black Panamanians.


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