By: Tasslyn Magnusson
Tar Beach is a magical story where Cassie, the narrator, has control over her life. She can own a bridge, she can free her father from his job, and even ensure they can have ice cream whenever they want. As a girl who is Black and Indian, she doesn't have access to those things in her real life. Cassie is aware of the obstacles - she talks about how her father can’t join the union because his grandfather wasn’t in the union and she dreams of being free to go wherever she wants.
I think the thing I enjoyed most – and can model in my work – is the opening line. It is both concrete and imaginative and evocative of a story to be told. “I will always remember when the stars fell down around me and lifted me up above the George Washington Bridge.” Even without the illustration of the young girl flying you know exactly where the story begins. It feels grounded and like the narrative is going to go somewhere.