Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book 6- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor is the second book in the 'Logan Family' series. I've never read the first one, and have no intentions of doing so either, but though this is part of a series it's a solid stand alone novel as well.

This Newberry Award winning novel is for children in upper primary levels or lower middle school levels. The story takes place in Mississippi during the Depression. The Logan Family- Big Ma, papa, mama, and their four children- Stacey (a son), Cassie, Christopher, and Little Man- are different from other Black people because they actually own their own land. Papa works for the railroad during non cotton season and mama is a teacher at the local Black school. But this is during a time of civil right unrest and race tensions are running high. The Logan's take a stand and decide to ban a white store in a nearby town and other Black families join. This cause many bad things to happen. This story is told from the perspective of Cassie, an 11 year old Black girl. She chronicles her family's time during one year, in a sad voice.

I read this book because I'm in a middle school where it's being taught, and I want to be able to help my students. This is a sad, tragic story with no happy ending. Actually, there's no happy anything in this novel. Just one bad, sad thing after another happening to this family.

One of my students asked why they always have to read sad stuff, and I think it's a good question. Yes, there is certainly a valuable lesson to be learned from this story, the reading level is appropriate, the moral is strong, there's a cross curriculum with the historical aspect. Lots of good things in this story, but yet... it's just so tragically sad, with no hope of happiness nor redemption.