Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words, LLC © 2015
Below is a snippet from Tameka's Song, a poem that appears in "Nelson Beats The Odds: Tameka's New Dress":
I didn't grow up easy,
My life was very hard.
I use to go to bed hungry,
Then my prayers to God.
Protect my brothers and I,
And keep us safe from my stepdad.
Please don't let him hurt us,
Whenever he's drunk or mad.
My prayers were finally answered,
When my stepdad went to jail.
But we had to leave our mommy,
Because she needed to get well.
Nelson Beats the Odds began as one book, but now has blossomed into a series of books about young people overcoming adversity. Tameka's New Dress will bring forward the voice of young people who've been abused, bullied or witnessed their parent battle drug addiction. Our young people's resilience is captured in Tameka's story. Tameka was introduced in Nelson Beats the Odds as one of Nelson's best friends. This book will tell the story of her amazing dress.
Tameka's New Dress will introduce readers to the concept colorism. Toni Morrison highlighted the concept of colorism in her famous novel The Bluest Eye. On Tameka's first day at Bland Middle School, she meets the school bully Mesha. Mesha calls Tameka "light bright" and makes fun of her because she is light-skinned. With the help of her new dress, Tameka gains the confidence she needs to stand up for herself and beat the odds.
Cherlanda Sidney-Ross is a social worker and Family Services Supervisor for the King William Department of Social Services. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Mrs. Ross is also the author of Tameka's New Dress, Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW sister. Mrs. Ross is featured as a social worker in Tameka's New Dress. She rescues the Tameka and her new brother from their chaotic home environment and places them in the care of their grandmother. She encourages Tameka to tell her story through writing.
"My sister has always been a role model of mine. I credit her with inspiring me to enroll in VCU's MSW program and pursue my degree in Social Work," said Ronnie. He wanted to to honor his sister and the work that thousands of other child welfare workers do everyday.
Click on the links below to learn more about Cherlanda Sidney-Ross
Guided Reading Level Grade Level: W
Grade Level Equivalent: 6
Interest Level By Grade: 4 and up
Educational Description: Book 2: Nelson Beats the Odds Series, Realistic fiction, graphic/comic format, poetry: point of view; main character, Tameka, informational side text; quotes, facts.
Story elements: Setting, plot and character development, author's purpose, problem and solution, cause and effect relationships, changes from beginning to end of the story, illustrations enhance meaning and tone.
Theme and ideas: Social issues- racial diversity/inequality, abuse, bullying, family, friendship, conflict resolution.
Book Summary: When you’re the new girl in school it can be a little scary. It’s even tougher when your parents aren’t there to help. Some of the kids might be friendly but what about that mean girl who’s always picking on you? The author brings up the subjects of childhood trauma, parental substance abuse, kinship care and bullying with a gentle touch suitable for even the youngest children. Tameka’s New Dress shines a light on these tough things and lays them out on the table to talk about. He also presents us with a strong girl in Tameka, who not only finds adults who can and do support her, but also finds a way to confront her bullies without becoming a bully herself. Real tips for real life situations are presented here – just what real little children need - a great addition to the library shelves.
Healing Through Words, LLC
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