The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.
-- Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881)

Elementary readersUpper elementary readersMiddle school readersHigh school readers
6 stars

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

AR: 5.7
Lexile: 920
RC: 6.9
by Mildred D. Taylor
Long Picture Book
Genre: Realistic Historical Fiction

Original post — Friday, August 4, 2006
<img src='../images/books/newberryaward1.gif' alt='Winner of the Newberry Medal' title='Winner of the Newberry Medal'> <img src='../images/books/alanotablebookaward.gif' alt='ALA Notable Book' title='ALA Notable Book for Children'>

Cassie is a nine-year old African-American girl living in the South during the 1930's. Until now, she's lived happily on her family's farm, one of the only ones in the area owned by a Black family. Unfortunately, she begins to face prejudice and discrimination from which she had been sheltered. Things get pretty bad when a neighbor named T.J. gets into big trouble with some older white kids. How will Cassie's and T.J.'s family get out of this mess?

This is a long, complicated story. I think the issues are important and this book does a good job of showing what things were like in the early 20th century South. The dialogue was written the way it would sound when the characters talked, but this might make it hard to read for some people (ex. "Well, whether she knowed it or not, she sho' 'nough whipped him"). Unfortunately, I couldn't get into it because the narrator spoke like a naive nine-year old but wrote like a college-educated 39-year old. For me, the writing style got in the way of the story.

Lots of other people really like this book. I think it is an important book that is worth reading at least once. Who knows, you may like it more than I did!

(Last modified:08/29/2007)

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