The Houseful Reads: Tessie by Jesse Jackson


It’s been a long time since I’ve tapped into my love of reading, and for fun in general. This particular book sits close to my heart because it was a book that I started reading when I was in fifth or sixth grade and never got a chance to finish it.  I then wasn’t able to get it back because other books came and went and I kind of forgot about it.  I couldn’t even remember the simple title of Tessie in order to find it again.

For some reason, I lost track of this book for more than two decades, and I’ve never stopped thinking about it.

I googled. And used every variation of what I could remember about the book. An African-American girl who goes to a private school on a scholarship.

Then on a whim, I went back to amazon, and looked for the title once again. This time, I found it and purchased the book for a whopping eighty cents. That’s it.

A book that I loved when I started it, was being sold on a platform for just eighty cents, and I bought it.

I’ve started it again, and I’ve already been swept into the life of Tessie, who is a smart kid. She’s holding it together for so many of her friends, and she has a bunch of responsibilities. Her parents are hard workers, her mother is a nurse and her dad is looking for a permanent position at the factory he works in. Good, honest, hard working parents.

In a nutshell, I saw me all those years ago, and didn’t realize it.

And reading it now, and becoming lost in the pages of the hardcover, I see me again. I also see the cellist, and everything that he faces going to school daily.

The writing is simplistic at best, but the heart of the novel is so complex. Nothing is really ever black and white. Not friendships, not school, not neighborhoods, and never people.

Tessie tackles all of these throughout the book and leaves you with a little bit of hope for the human race, until you realize that it’s tackling the same subject matter that is going on today. Forty-five years later.  It’s a great coming of age tale that still leaves me thoughtful, but also lets me know that life is still more of the same.

Have you recently read a book from your youth? Did you like it as much as you remembered? Share the title with me, and maybe I can fit it into my long list of things that I should read!

I’ve googled,


  1. Nailah says:

    :”leaves you with a little bit of hope for the human race, until you realize that it’s tackling the same subject matter that is going on today. ” ,.<—–and there you have it!

    • Natasha Nicholes says:

      I sure do hope so. It’s so sad to realize that sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. I hope that my children won’t find themselves reading something like this and not seeing a difference.

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