“Shut up, you ugly witch!” Roberta barked at her. Tiffany’s mouth opened in surprise. Then her eyes narrowed, and her mouth turned down at the corners. Tiffany was really really mad. And Tiffany doesn’t turn the other check very easily. I knew it then. This was going to be the worst project any of us had ever done.
Book: The Taming of Roberta Parsley (I Witness) by Carol Gorman, Concordia Publishing House, 1994
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 10-14
Subjects: Friendship, Showing love to others, Poverty
Summary: She’s horrid! They all knew it from the first moment she stepped into the classroom and sneered at all of them. The real trouble began when their teacher divided everyone into groups for a social studies project. Juliet and her friends wound up having Roberta in their group, stinky, thieving, insulting Roberta. The very first day trouble begins as Roberta insults Tiffany. Not even Brit’s kindness can solve this one. Juliet knows a disaster when she sees it and that’s exactly what this social studies project will be!
Notes: This is a story of a girl from a very under-privileged home – her mom doesn’t seem to care much about her and there isn’t a dad in the picture. She seems to only own one outfit until the day her mom helps her steal a second. She’s learned to cope with her struggles by determinedly attacking first so no one can hurt her. Some girls in her new class reach out in kindness and it makes a difference for her. Juliet and her classmates are encouraged to turn the other cheek and show God’s love to Roberta and when they do, they see the power His love has to change a person.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 4.5/5
Matthew 5:43-48 – "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.