I could see our tiny rooftop, with Mommy and Daddy and Mr. and Mrs. Honey, our next-door neighbors, still playing cards [...] (3)
It's easy to miss if you're not paying attention, but all of the characters in Tar Beach are Black, which is awesome. That's pretty unusual for a children's book from the early 1990s. (It's even still unusual for children's books today.)
Me, Cassie Louise Lightfoot, only eight years old and in the third grade, and I can fly. (10)
Cassie doesn't let racism get her down. She knows that she can do anything.
That means I am free to go wherever I want for the rest of my life. (10)
Characters like Cassie's dad are understandably down about living in a super-racist society. But Cassie feels confident that nothing's going to hold her back.
Daddy took me to see the new union building he is working on. (11)
In the 1930s, it was still difficult for Black men to join unions. But they could certainly build union buildings.
But he still can't join the union because Grandpa wasn't a member. (13)