Story begins in neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, called Williamsburg
certain kind of tree that grows throughout the neighborhood- called the Tree of Heaven
grows wherever its seeds land- in old lots, trash heaps, cement
grows only where the poor people live.
Francie Nolan has such trees in her yard
Saturday- a trip to the junkie for eleven-year-old Francie and her brother Neeley
Carney the junkie pays neighborhood kids pennies for the bits of tin foil and other metals
likes girls better than boys
Francie delivers the junk
earns sixteen cents and a "pinching penny"
Neeley handles the money
half for the tin-can bank
rest they divide evenly
Francie always keeps pinching penny.
Cheap Charlie's, the penny candy store
Francie doesn't go inside
unwritten rule- boys' store
accompanying her friend Maudie Donavan to Gimpy's candy store- decides on five cents worth of pink and white peppermints
Francie walks back home
She thinks that Jewish women must have so many
hopeful that one will be the messiah
Irish women just looked ashamed at being pregnant.
Katie Nolan, Francie's mom- works as janitress
Francie's father has a drinking problem
Coffee is a luxury in the Nolan household
each member- allowed three cups per day, with milk.
Katie Nolan believes that Francie is entitled to throw her cups down the drain
saying that it's good for poor people like them to be able to waste something.
Francie then follows Neeley and his friends to the baseball lot
the boys stop to harass a Jewish boy
begin to harass another little boy selling pretzels
his mother yells out the window, intimidating them.
After watching the boys play for awhile, Francie walks back to the library
library is small and shabby- Francie thinks it looks beautiful
loves to read, and wants to read all the books in the world, in alphabetical order
dreams to one day have a brown bowl with flowers and lots of books.