As I write my book on readers' advisory, I try to include books that many libraries own and that are fairly current. In a way, I am working toward the conservation of some titles, hoping they won't get weeded too soon. Here is a draft review of a book that I want to keep in circulation.
Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America. Basic Books, 1996. 279p. ISBN 0465070922.
Rosa Lee Cunningham (1936-1995) had spent about fifty years in the housing projects of Washington, D.C., when journalist Leon Dash asked to shadow her. For four years, he watched her manage her home and followed her on errands: bailing children out of jail, attending funerals, and visiting drug treatment centers. At the end of this book, Cunningham dies of AIDS. Using his observations, Dash wrote about Cunningham and the lives of the desperately poor in a series of prize-winning articles for the Washington Post, which he expanded into this candid biography.
Subjects: African Americans; Civil Rights; Cunningham, Rosa Lee; Drug Addicts; Poor; Teen Reads; Washington, D.C.
Now try: In A Welfare Mother, Susan Sheehan writes about Carmen Santana, a Puerto Rican mother who income did not meet her expenses. This eye-opening book, which was expanded from an article in The New Yorker, refutes prevailing ideas about women "on the dole" wanting to be there. Alex Kotlowitz follows the life of two boys to show the difficulty of escaping the slums of Chicago in There Are No Children Here. Beverly Lowry tells how one woman escaped poverty in Her Dream of Dreams: The Rise and Triumph of Madam C. J. Walker (see this chapter).