Hannibal Free Public Library

The Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town

Jacqueline Guidry

January 28, 2008


  1. What does Guidry want the readers to know or understand at the end of her book?
  1. Did Guidry do a good job of writing from the perspective of a ten-year-old girl in Southern rural Louisiana in the 1950s?
  1. Which is more powerful to the people of Ville d’Angelle, religion or race?
  1. Why does Hazey feel it is permissible for the Sisters to teach her children, but it is not acceptable for her daughter to be friends with an African-American child?
  1. Compare Hazey and Aussie’s friendship with that of Mavis and Marydale. How do both friendships change?
  1. What does the presence of Tante Yvette’s butterfly glass tell you about her?
  1. Talk about the “Change of Life” babies in the story. Can the reader draw parallels between these two events, the arrival of the Sisters and Tante Deacy’s baby? How are Marydale, Willie and Angelina Christine special? What kind of changes do they promote? 
  1. Why do you think Hazey speaks “with an edge” to Aussie after Mavis, Vivien Leigh and Marydale have come home from school? What concerns Hazey about Holy Rosary and Sacred Heart Schools?
  1. When Floyd says “turkey cooked with colored hands can’t help but bring bad luck,” Hazey gives him a disgusted look. What does this say about Hazey, who has just purchased a separate set of dishes for Aussie and Marydale?  Why do you think she bought the dishes?
  1. Talk about the relationship and trouble between Deacy and Everett. Who do you think is in the right, Deacy or Everett? Do you think they love each other? Explain Everett’s behavior and longing to leave Ville d’Angelle. Talk about Hazey and Floyd’s perceptions of the situation between Deacy and Everett.
  1. Talk about the bet between Hazey and Floyd. What is Floyd trying to accomplish with such a bet? Why does Hazey take it? Why do they draw Vivien Leigh into it? What do you think of Vivien Leigh’s response at being told to hold the money? How does Vivien Leigh feel about the bet at the end of the school year?
  1. What is the significance of outsiders committing the violent acts at Holy Rosary School? How does Ville d’Angelle feel about this?  What does the town lose when the school burns down?  Who are the greatest victims? Who do you think will ride out this situation best?
  1. Why do you think Floyd changes his mind about letting Aussie go after the fire?
  1. There is a recurring motif of “angels” in this book. The town is named Ville d’Angelle (Angel Village).  When it rains someone says, “An angel’s crying.” Deacy’s baby is named Angelina Christine. Who are the angels in this book? Why would the author choose angels as a recurring theme?


Adapted from questions compiled by Kaite Mediatore, Readers’ Services Librarian at the Main Branch of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library.