Kizzy Ann Stamps

( 7 )

Overview

Taking things in stride is not easy for Kizzy Ann, but with her border collie, Shag, stalwart at her side, she sets out to live a life as sweet as syrup on cornbread.

In 1963, as Kizzy Ann prepares for her first year at an integrated school, she worries about the color of her skin, the scar running from the corner of her right eye to the tip of her smile, and whether anyone at the white school will like her. She writes letters to her new teacher in a clear, insistent voice, ...

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Kizzy Ann Stamps

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Overview

Taking things in stride is not easy for Kizzy Ann, but with her border collie, Shag, stalwart at her side, she sets out to live a life as sweet as syrup on cornbread.

In 1963, as Kizzy Ann prepares for her first year at an integrated school, she worries about the color of her skin, the scar running from the corner of her right eye to the tip of her smile, and whether anyone at the white school will like her. She writes letters to her new teacher in a clear, insistent voice, stating her troubles and asking questions with startling honesty. The new teacher is supportive, but not everyone feels the same, so there is a lot to write about. Her brother, James, is having a far less positive school experience than she is, and the annoying white neighbor boy won’t leave her alone. But Shag, her border collie, is her refuge. Even so, opportunity clashes with obstacle. Kizzy Ann knows she and Shag could compete well in the dog trials, but will she be able to enter? From Jeri Watts comes an inspiring middle-grade novel about opening your mind to the troubles and scars we all must bear — and facing life with hope and trust.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Watts, author of the picture book Keepers, displays sure footing in this strong foray into middle-grade fiction, about a 12-year-old black girl from Virginia navigating significant life changes. Set over the course of a year starting in the summer of 1963, Watts’s epistolary novel consists of candid letters Kizzy writes to Miss Anderson, her soon-to-be teacher at a newly integrated public school, and journal entries addressed to her teacher during the school year. Kizzy is apprehensive about sharing a classroom with white students: she wears the hand-me-down dresses of one white girl, and another classmate is responsible for the accident that left her with a prominent facial scar. Prevalent racism threatens Kizzy’s aspirations, as well as those of her athletic older brother, but with help from within and without—as well as the support of her beloved border collie, Shag—Kizzy prevails, and does so triumphantly. Watts offers an evenhanded, insightful evocation of a turbulent time and of a girl’s perseverance, with Kizzy’s writing exposing both widespread prejudice and the determination and will that countered it. Ages 9–12. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Hurray for Kizzy Ann! This funny, no-bow, dirt-on-her-hands, dog-with-her girl will lead you through her unforgettable experience as one of the first black students at the integrated school in her Virginia town. Combining humor, modern history, and heart, Jeri Watts has created a lovely novel that is gentle, honest, and full of hope.
—Meg Medina, Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning author

KIZZY ANN STAMPS is a tender and captivating story set in rural Virginia in the early 1960s that speaks of courage, friendship, and the pursuit of one’s dream. I wept good and grateful tears throughout. Thank you, Jeri Watts.
—Gigi Amateau, author of "Come August, Come Freedom"

Through epistolary fiction, Jeri Watts conjures a reluctant yet headstrong heroine who has been scarred by racism. With her devoted dog, Shag, Kizzy Ann navigates the color line, confronts her nemesis, and conquers her own doubts. This child’s-eye view of 1960s school desegregation resonates with warmth and humanity.
—Carole Boston Weatherford, author of the NAACP Image Award winner "Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom"

This is a touching story with a sharp and insightful protagonist. One hopes that it will find its way into the hands of feisty girls looking for a strong role model.
—School Library Journal

A story full of adventure and laughs for anyone who has ever had to face down tough times.
—Discovery Girls

Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
In the summer of ?63, Kizzy Ann writes a letter to her new teacher. Her old one orders her to do it, and everyone always does what Mrs. Warren says. Knowing what to write, though, is not easy. Should she launch right in and ask questions? Should she tell her about her scar so she will not be shocked by it? Would she want to hear about Shag? A white teacher in a white school, maybe Miss Anderson is just as worried as Kizzy Ann about this whole integration business. So Kizzy Ann, a black child hoping for a world of acceptance, writes with the heart and passion of an author-in-training. When Miss Anderson writes back, a friendship emerges that only grows stronger when they meet. Armed with the love of her border collie and the knowledge that she will get to use an indoor restroom, even if it is restricted to a black-designated stall, Kizzy Ann starts school with hope that things will not only be different, but better. Anyone who reads this story filled with courage and purpose will love it. Kizzy Ann Stamps rings the bells of freedom. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
Kirkus Reviews
With the abundance of stories about a boy and his dog, it's refreshing to see a tale of a girl and her dog. Outspoken Kizzy Ann Stamps is used to overcoming difficulties, from navigating the prejudice in her town to coping with the attention brought on by the scar on her right cheek. Now a new hurdle has arisen for Kizzy Ann: integration. Armed with a belief in facing problems head-on, Kizzy Ann writes to her new teacher, sharing that much of her strength comes from her extraordinary border collie, Shag. So Kizzy Ann is disheartened when she finds that Shag is ineligible to compete in dog shows. But hope unexpectedly comes in the form of neighbor Donald McKenna. Under his guidance, they train to enter a dog trial--a perfect choice for a "no-bow" girl and dog like Kizzy Ann and Shag...if Kizzy Ann can enter, despite the discrimination that would block her path. Through Kizzy Ann's letters to her teacher (from July 1963 to May 1964), Watts weaves a powerful story of strength and self-acceptance in the face of injustice. Though her introspective narration slips in and out of an adult voice, it always presents a strong, thoughtful and likable protagonist. The vivid historical setting of this short and satisfying read will leave readers feeling they have experienced life in Kizzy Ann's world. (Historical fiction. 9-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—During the summer of 1963,12-year-old Kizzy Ann Stamps writes letters to the teacher who will instruct her at the new, integrated school. Kizzy is forthright in her first letter; she does not want to go to a school with white children. Miss Anderson is understanding, and as Kizzy begins to trust her, she shares stories about Shag, the stray border collie her family adopted. Through her love of Shag, Kizzy reveals what she understands about integrated life. When classmates tell her that blacks can't participate in dog shows, she writes, "I made a mistake and let down my guard. I let them in, and now I feel a fool." Kizzy is sensitive yet sassy, and she bounces back with fierce determination. Her brother, on the other hand, suffers from discrimination at the upper school. When he causes trouble, a neighboring white boy fixes the problem, and Kizzy learns to see each person as an individual. Yes, there are whites who hate her, but she learns to trust herself and her feelings. Some passages go on about border collie herding, but they don't overwhelm the novel. This is a touching story with a sharp and insightful protagonist. One hopes that it will find its way into the hands of feisty girls looking for a strong role model.—Pamela Schembri, Newburgh Enlarged City Schools, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763658953
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 686,735
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeri Watts has worked as a public school teacher for twenty-seven years. She has written numerous short stories as well as the picture book Keepers. Kizzy Ann Stamps is her first middle-grade novel. Jeri Watts lives in Virginia, where she is a professor at Lynchburg College.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    Got it

    So good so good

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2015

    This book was amazing! I loved it. It will forever be my fav boo

    This book was amazing! I loved it. It will forever be my fav book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2015

    Kizzy Ann Stamps is very amazing and power Kizzy Ann Stamps is a very amazing and powerful book.

    This book is about a time of intergration but more specificly about a girl who is BLACK in a time of intergration. She had a hard life because it was not easey to be black back then. The girls name was Kizzy Ann Stamps. She is very stuborn. One time in her black school she had to right about someone she looked up to so she wrote about her dog Shag. When her teacher told her to change it to a person she handed it right back and said I look up to Shag and she never gave in. My favorite part was when Shag saved her from a snake. The snake bit Shag and it took a while to heal but eventualy he was fine. One day she entered a hearding contest with Shag that was after a guy had trained them to uunder stand each other. KizzyAnnStamps is a wonderfull book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Click here for review

    The best book ever

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Amazing book

    Im reading it right now

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    ?..

    How is this book it lookgoods

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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