"From my back porch, I can see where my best friend lives. Evette’s tenant house sits on my daddy’s property . . . but on account of her being black and me being white, she hardly ever comes in my house, and I don’t go in hers. My daddy says that’s just the way it is." Darby Carmichael thinks her best friend is probably the smartest person she knows, even though, as Mama says, Evette’s school uses worn-out books and crumbly chalk. Whenever they can, Darby and Evette shoot off into the woods beyond the farm to play at being fancy ladies and schoolteachers.
One thing Darby has never dreamed of being - not until Evette suggests it - is a newspaper girl who writes down the truth for all to read. In no time, and with more than a little assistance from Evette, Darby and her column in the Bennettsville Times are famous in town and beyond. But is Marlboro County, South Carolina, circa 1926, ready for the truth its youngest reporter has to tell?
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Hearing voices, I raised my eyes and saw Evette and her older brothers halfway down the dirt lane to their house. I got up and met them. "Hey, Joebean and Lucius," I told them.
"Hey Darby," they said.
Evette pointed at the notebook I had. "You got another story writ up?"
Nodding, I said, "You wanna edit it?"
"Long as my name gets in the paper."
"It's gonna," I promised.
"I sat outside while Evette changed into her play clothes. Then we went through the field and into the woods. Sitting down on top of a log, she read what I'd done. She read it agai, and lifting her face real slow, she gave me a look. "Is it okay?" I asked.
"Just needs some smoothing out. This one's done more professional than the last." She smiled at me.
"Do you think it's good?"
"I do," she told me, taking my pencil and marking my newspaper article in what seemed like a hundred different spots. She saw me watching, and said, "It ain't nothing."
DARBY by Jonathon Scott Fuqua. Copyright (c) 2002 by Jonathon Scott Fuqua. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.