"We really are the only
black people in this neighborhood?" Aeisha always gets right to the point.
Khatib and Aeisha were quiet for a few seconds, and I moved down one step.
"And we're really gonna be the only
black people at our schools?"
I moved down another step. We were all quiet now, and I knew what everybody was thinking. Living in Boston, you know that there are rules. Everybody lives in their own neighborhoods. Everybody goes to their own schools. People break those rules all the time, but if they do, they usually end up on the six o'clock news. Were we gonna get in any trouble for living here? I moved down another step until I was squeezed in tight between Dad and Mama.
"So we're the only
black people in this town?" Khatib asked slowly. "How are people gonna feel about us?"
An Excerpt from Ola Shakes It Up
Dad pulled the car back out into the street, and in a few seconds we pulled
into the driveway of another blue-and-white house. "Number seven-twenty-seven.
I stared out of the car window at the house. It made our house back in
Roxbury look like a beat-up old shed. This house had big, wide windows
instead of the small, tight windows in our old house. This house had a
tall, polished wood double door instead of a too-low single door with
peeling paint, like our old house. I felt like I was looking at a blown-up-to-life-size
version of those dollhouses we used to see in the store catalogs. Aeisha
had always wanted one of those dollhouses, but they were too expensive.
Then I looked at the other houses. They looked like dollhouses, too. In
fact, they all looked like exactly the same dollhouse. How was I going
to find my way home from school in this neighborhood? Even Dad didn't
know his own house.
"It's all wrong," I said. Khatib and Aeisha nodded with me. They put on
their most sorrowful expressions to show Mama, except that Khatib's expression
looked more like he was sick than upset.
Mama twisted her neck to look at us. "It'll look prettier in the spring,
when the grass gets back to being green and the trees fill out."
Ha, I thought. What about the humongous front lawn? It looked like it
was the size of Franklin Park. Who was gonna take care of it? Dad hated
doing yard work and Khatib was always at basketball practice. Who was
gonna shovel all the snow in the winter? Who was gonna rake the millions
of leaves that fell off those big trees? Not me.
"Come out, all you." Mama held the car door open for me. 'At least you
can have a look inside."
Khatib, Aeisha and I glanced at each other. I could tell they were wimping
out, 'cause neither of them looked me in the eye.
"Guess it wouldn't hurt." Khatib shrugged.
"We're already here," Aeisha pointed out.
"No way!" I whispered loudly.
The looked at each other again, and the next thing I knew they were climbing
all over me to get out of the car and running up the front lawn to the
house. Traitors. From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Ola Shakes It Up by Joanne Hyppolite; illustrated by Warren Chang. . Excerpted by permission of Yearling, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.