Toning the Sweep

( 5 )

Overview


Angela Johnson's Coretta Scott King Award winning novel that traces three generations of African American women as they learn one another's truths.

Three generations of African American women, each holding on to a separate truth. Their story -- encompassing racism and murder as well as the family commonplaces that make a life -- is one that readers will never forget.

On a visit to her grandmother Ola, who is dying of cancer in her...

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Overview


Angela Johnson's Coretta Scott King Award winning novel that traces three generations of African American women as they learn one another's truths.

Three generations of African American women, each holding on to a separate truth. Their story -- encompassing racism and murder as well as the family commonplaces that make a life -- is one that readers will never forget.

On a visit to her grandmother Ola, who is dying of cancer in her house in the desert, fourteen-year-old Emmie hears many stories about the past and her family history and comes to a better understanding of relatives both dead and living.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW , in a starred review, praised this ``thoughtfully nuanced and penetrating'' novel about three generations of women from an African American family who must cope with a beloved grandmother's illness. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Before Emily's grandmother leaves her beloved desert home, possibly for the last time, the sensitive teen sets out to record the memories of the woman, her friends, and relatives on video. While documenting the reminiscences, she learns about her African American family's past and gains the strength to say good-bye. A powerful story about connections and coping. (Apr., 1993)
Quraysh Ali
Grandmama Ola left Alabama and moved to the desert in 1964. That was right after Grandaddy's funeral. Emily's mama, who was 14-years-old at the time, hated the desert and left angrily after three years. Emily, who narrates the story, is 14, and loves the desert and Grandmama, though her relationship with both is changing. This will be Emily's last trip out west, at least to visit Ola, who is going to live with Mama and Emily in Cleveland. Ola is dying of cancer. The juxtapositions of past memories and the present in this powerfully moving book are as fluid as a dancer's movements. A celebratory dance of life, reflecting the ending of childhood and the beginning of womanhood and selfhood, the story is about African American history, the pain of it (Grandaddy had been lynched and Mama had found him) as well as the joy (with a camcorder, Emily tapes Ola and her many friends sharing and laughing). With ingenuity and grace, Johnson captures the innocence, the vulnerability, and the love of human interaction as well as the melancholy, the self-discovery, and the introspection of adolescence.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590481427
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 195,741
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.44 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author


Angela Johnson was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, but raised in Windham, Ohio; the only girl in a family of five. She now lives in Northeastern Ohio in a hundred year old house full of plants. When not writing she travels. On one of her trips to the California desert the inspiration for her first novel, Toning the Sweep came about.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2008

    Worst book I've Ever Read

    I was forced to read this book for a school project. Absolutely boring, and I wouldn't reccomend it to anyone. Nothing makes sense, there's no action, and no plot. If the grandma dying of cancer is the plot, then all i can say is wow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2003

    A book I did not unstand But I was rapped up in it.

    I picked this book for a fast book report and did not get all of it but I still read it becuase I was rapped in what I was reading. trust me I NEVER got so into a book like that

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    Great Author

    Im not writing about the book i am writing about the author. I just would like to say that Angela Johnson is a great author and shoulkd be rewarded for more than just her books but as an imaginative writer so this is really all that i have to say because she is more that just great she is amazing and my words will never beat how wonderful she is!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2001

    A search for where you come from and where you're going

    I read this book first when I was bored one summer when I was 14.I was impressed because all the other books I read featured protagonists aged 16 and this was one the same age as me.Since then i've come back to it many times.Firstly,I loved the descripions of the Mojave desert where it took place,but mostly i loved the characters,people you can actually identify with.Emily doesn't want to leave the desert and doesn't want to face up to what drove her family there in the first place.However,once in the desert with people she loves it's possible to do this.It persuaded me that your family history is unique and important,not something to be forgotten.And also that although you can't change the past,you can change the future.The most important lesson it taught me,one that is still teaching me now 3 years on,is that sometime you have to let go and say goodbye, which isn't so bad when you have the memories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2000

    A captivating treasure for young adults

    I was in the 8th grade when I picked up 'Toning the Sweep', for a quick book report. Little did I know, this book would still have a hold of me. At my age then, I could identify with the struggle of trying to find a nitch. Teenagers are constantly in that position. The young girl is independent and wants to know about everything, but also wants to find who she is by finding out where she came from. At the end she has treasured memories to keep in her heart of her grandmother, whom she respected greatly. This book is truely captivating in imagery and inspiration. I recommend this to every teenager who struggles with their identity and freedom.

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