Tar Beach (Caldecott Honor Book)

by Faith Ringgold

Hardcover, 1991



Local notes

E Rin





Knopf Books for Young Readers (1991), Edition: 1st, 32 pages. $17.99.


A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name.

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

32 p.; 9.69 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Kcarline143
A little girls uses her imagination on how she can fly across buildings and make things that aren't possible come true. She imagines life being easier by her powers to fly. No matter what she thinks positively.
LibraryThing member Melanielooper
This book was about a young African American girl growing up in the 1930's. Her parents live in an apartment building and spend many nights on the roof with their neighbors. The girl and her younger brother lay on a mattress on the roof and pretend to fly over different things. The girls father is
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a construction worker who cannot join the union and her family has little money.

This was a very good book that takes you back to when you were little and could do anything. I really enjoyed that the girl "flew" over all the buildings she wanted to own. The author did a great job portraying the girls innocence.

In the classroom, I could use this book to talk about the students imaginations. You could also use this book to start a conversation about Unions and how they've changed and shaped different industries.
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LibraryThing member glanecia
Wow. I didn't even realize that this was an actual quilt until I finished reading the story. The author made a quilt, and then transfered the words and pictures over to a book. That's talent, for sure! It's absolutely beautiful -- an imaginative story about flying and the freedom it brings.
LibraryThing member lacykay9300
A little girl named Cassie who is eight years old wants to be free to go anywhere she wants to go. One night she dreams she flies over Harlem’s apartment buildings. She claims all the buildings as hers. She claims the union so her dad can join. On hot nights tenets of the apartments would gather
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on the roof tops it reminded cassie of a beach. that’s how it got the name tar beach.
This book is wonderful it is during the time of the depression. It deals with segregation and many other things.
I would do a whole lesson on segregation and read this to the class. You could also use it for discussion on how important closeness of family is.
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LibraryThing member GWES.Second
A young girl imagines she and her grandmother are flying over Harlem and buying the landmarks to give to her parents.
LibraryThing member curiousbutterpants
This is Faith Ringgold at her best: evocatively capturing the spirit of a childhood in the streets of Harlem, painting them in rich, original paintings. Her work is amazing, and has come to represent – to a certain degree – the urban African American experience in the mid-20th century. It's
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truly an inspirational book.
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LibraryThing member kwillis
This book is about an African American girl growing up in Harlem in the 1930s. She learns to fly so she can be free to go anywhere she wants to go. A historical fiction that uses traditional African American myths and the medium of quilt stories, this book appeals to my imagination, love of
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paintings and cries for justice. This book is an imaginative empowering story with vibrant, beautiful imagery painted and sewn by the author.
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LibraryThing member TatumNobis
This book is about an African American girl growing up in Harlem in the 1930s. This is about a girl who is dreams about being able to fly and when she flies over something, it becomes hers. Her father has helped build a lot of buildings and bridges. They do alot things like eat and gatherings on
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the rooftop of their apartment building, that is why it is called Tar Beach.

I thought that this book was okay..

In the classroom i could use it talking about fiction or the African American culture.
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LibraryThing member kateweber
Ringgold uses images from a quilt painting she created along with the narrative of a young girl living in New York in the 1930s. She imagines that she owns everything that she flies over in the night. As she flies, she explores some issues of the time, such as racism and unemployment. She also
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talks about her time with her family on the roof of their building with friends and food. Caldecott Honor Book.
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LibraryThing member bwyatt
This book is about an African American girl growing up in Harlem in the 1930s. This is about a girl who is dreams about being able to fly and when she flies over something, it becomes hers. Her father has helped build a lot of buildings and bridges. They do alot things like eat and gatherings on
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the rooftop of their apartment building, that is why it is called Tar Beach.
I love this book. Anything that has to do with harlem and the 1930s is interesting to me. I get how she wanted a beach during that hard time.
I would use this book during a history lesson of new york city and all the immigrants that came through. I would show them that you had to make due with what you got and learn to love it.
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LibraryThing member amber85
The girl is describing flying over buildings in new york city in her dreams. She laying on top of a sky scraper in New York City. Then her and her brother fly over new york city. Being able to fly over certain sky scrapers and bridges.
LibraryThing member Katie20
Tar beach was magical. She could imagine flying over her home, and seeing the George Washington Bridge. She could imagine seeing the bridge and flying over it everyday. She wants to help her Dad join the Union. She does not care if he is black or white. She is going to fly over and buy it for him.
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This is a great book about make believe, and changing your life so it will be easy. This is a great book for the imagination.
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LibraryThing member mmburks
This book is about a family who is poor and a little girl with an imagination. They always go up on the rooftop and she dreams of owning whatever she wants and having whatever they need. She flies through the stars to reach her dreams.
LibraryThing member conuly
This is a picture book in the style that I call "dreamy". The girl is dreaming about flying through the city, wearing the bridge her father helped build as a necklace, giving him the union building he can't join because of his race and so on.

There's no real storyline, just her thoughts as her
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family goes up to "tar beach" (the roof of her house - I did that as a child, and sometimes regret that my nieces have a nice yard but no walking-on roof!) to laugh and be together and have fun.

This book would be very appropriate for bedtime. That's why I call this style of book "dreamy", in fact. Pick up a copy, you'll see what I mean.
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LibraryThing member susan.suihkonen
A story of a young girl named Cassie who flies over things in the city during the night in order to make them hers.
LibraryThing member klledet
Traveling back to 1939, eight year old Cassie Louise Lightfoot dreams as she is laying on top of her apartment building rooftop, "Tar Beach." She flew over buildings and "claimed" them for her family. This plot is dedicated to racism and the pain it causes. Throughout the story, the reader can see
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how racism affects adults, which is commonly portrayed. However, here the reader sees how it effects children too. The only downside to it was that I felt that the reader would need to have a lot of background knowledge to fully understand the text. (Winner of the Coretta Scott King Award)
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LibraryThing member vsnod
This book takes me back to my childhood days when it was a regular bedtime story for me. I love how the character in this book dreams so freely and the author embeds her dreams in the innocence of her youth. The illustrations do a wonderful job of adding a light feel to real-life situations and
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allowing the character to be herself and dream.
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LibraryThing member clstone
Tar Beach is a colorful picture book by Faith Rinngold. The little girl in the story flies around using her imagination discovering life. Tar Beach is the rooftop where her family and friends gather to each and spend time together. This book is great for all ages of elementary students and can
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incorporate african american literature with fantasy genre.
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LibraryThing member MarthaL
It takes at least two readings of this book and the note at the end to appreciate the art work and the content of this visual presentation. The storyline is minimal: two children rest on mattress while their parents dine and play cards with another couple. The older child narrates her dream of what
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she sees there on the roof top and the is
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LibraryThing member NataliaLucia
Personal Response: This is such a beautiful story! I couldn't stop looking at the illustrations. I want to go see the quilt.
Curricular Connection: This story could be read alound to a Kindergarden class. Afterward, students could make drawings of places they would like to fly over. Another art
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project could be to practice quilting with swaths of fabric on a felt board, or connected with tape or glue.
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LibraryThing member MKHowell
Two families gather on Tar Beach, the rooftop, and eat dinner. The little girl uses her imagination to fly them any where they want to go from the roof.
LibraryThing member LisaNewman
Tar Beach is told from Cassie Lightfoot’s point f view. Cassie is a young girl growing up in 1930’s Harlem. The ‘tar beach’ is the roof of the apartment building her family lives in, and when she up on the roof, she can soar.

What really captures me about this book is more the artwork and
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knowledge of how the book started. The whole thing being written on the edges of a quilt is amazing.

The book would be a wonderful lead in to telling how racism affected the daily lives of people in the late 30’s and early 40’s.
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LibraryThing member lpeal
This is about a girl who dreams of doing everything. She thinks she can fly to get there. She imagines flying over a bridge and her father being part of a union so they can be rich. THey always have get together with her parents friends on the beach. This book took me a little while to understand
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it. I could use this in my library during African Hertiage month. It could be one of the selections read to studetnts.
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LibraryThing member kapickens
This book really is an inspiration to people who have overcome adversity. I love how Faith Ringgold creates picture books for children that celebrate freedom, courage, and peace. I would definitely use this book in my classroom during Black History Month because many of the changes that have
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occurred in the world began with a dream. For example, we could discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream for the world and Harriet Tubman's dream. It was interesting how the author uses flying as a metaphor for freedom in Tar Beach. To me this symbolizes how a person can believe that he/she can do anything and not be afraid to try anything.
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LibraryThing member givingtree1
Very well written. Interesting and great illustrations.




(215 ratings; 4.1)
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