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Gale NussbaumI am the librarian at the H.R. Edmunds School, the setting of Judith Kristen's. The Purple Hat Gang. A school in the School District of Philadelphia, we have grade levels from K-8 and a diverse ethnic student population.
The Purple Hat Gang has been a huge success with our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade readers. At first they identified with the location being set in and around our school neighborhood. But as they got into the book, they realized that problems preteens and teenagers face today were the same kinds of problems faced by teenagers over 40 years ago.
This book crosses ethnic and racial lines and enables ALL readers to identify with the characters and their struggle to come of age.
Many of our readers have written book reviews for The Purple Hat Gang on the Barnes and Noble website. I strongly suggest you read their reviews. That in itself will give you an insight into our student's opinions of the book.
The one part of the book that seemed to interest the readers was the epilogue where Ms. Kristen gave an account of what happened to each one of the girls in regards to their successes and life misadventures. I, as the librarian, have heard many discussions among the readers of their perception of the characters and how they were able to cope with their situations and mostly lead good, productive lives.
I have been a teacher in the Philadelphia School System for over thirty years. The Purple Hat Gang is a book that I feel should be on the reading list of all contemporary schools. There are many possible avenues of study on which an accomplished teacher could venture with a class. It is also an excellent book to read to a class, especially a skillful reading by an adult with the lingo of the sixties!
I wish Ms. Kristen good fortune with this endeavor and certainly consider it as one of my top recommended readings for young adults!