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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Family

If ever there was a book that proves that families come in all shapes and sizes, it’s Dicey’s Song. Just because Dicey and her siblings lost their parents doesn’t mean they can’t create a n...

Coming of Age

All four of the Tillerman kids are struggling with friends school, and identity, either because they’re smart (James), timid (Sammy), learning-disabled (Maybeth), or, like our heroine, grouchy ab...

Madness

Dicey’s Song isn’t all boats and aprons and piano lessons; there’s a dying, mentally ill mother hovering in the background the whole time. Although we never find out the specific mental illne...

Poverty

Poverty wears on Dicey and her family like nothing else in the novel. Throughout Dicey's Song, our heroine implies that they lost their mother to poverty, and are in danger of losing each other to...

Home

Home means a lot more to you when you’ve spent time without one. If you haven’t read Homecoming, the first book in the Tillerman Cycle, here’s what happens: Momma drives her old car to a mall...

Women and Femininity

Dicey is all about rebelling against traditional women’s roles, which is one of the many things that make her an awesome YA heroine. There’s a reason Dicey’s Song is still being read more tha...

Friendship

Dicey's a hard girl to get to know, which makes it all the more impressive that, by the end of the novel, she's racked up a fair few friends in Mina, Jeff, and even Mr. Lingerle. Throughout Dicey's...

Education

It’s time for some real talk: there are some seriously whack educators at the Tillermans' school. Mr. Chappelle accuses the best writer in his class of plagiarism, James’s teacher doesn’t cha...
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