Black and White
by Eric Walters
Puffin Canada, 2009
$12.99, 220 pp, ages 12 – 14
The last thing Tom wants to do after school is watch the grade eight girls’ team play basketball. Tom is on the boys’ grade eight team and doesn’t think the girls’ team is very good. Tom’s best friend, Steve, convinces him to go. The team does not play very well except for Denyse, a grade seven girl, who is so impressive on the court Tom cannot help but notice her. He thinks Denyse is really pretty and the fact that she is black and he is white is not an issue. Denyse and Tom begin to spend time together as friends. When Tom’s father drives Tom and Denyse to a ski club, Tom teaches Denyse to snowboard, and gets his first kiss. But on the ski hill, a racist comment is made by a white man to Denyse which upsets her very much. Tom cannot believe that some people still use such racist language. He believes that no one should be treated differently because of their skin colour. Once Denyse and Tom start to officially date it becomes clear that not everyone is happy about this situation. Denyse’s brother gives Tom a hard time, but not for the reasons Tom expects. During a game at school Denyse is knocked about by four black girls on the opposing team. As Tom watches the game he notices that the girls look as “though they are more interested in hurting Denyse than they are in winning the game.” Though not against the relationship, both sets of parents tell Tom and Denyse it will not be easy and there will be many challenges. Now it is up to Denyse and Tom to decide whether or not the feelings they have for each other are strong enough to withstand the prejudices of others.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s May 2010 issue.