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Crow Hardcover – January 10, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 1, 2012:
“The expert blending of vivid historical details with the voice of a courageous, relatable hero makes this book shine.”

Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, January 1, 2012:
“Wright has taken a little-known event and brought it to vivid life, with a richly evoked setting of a town on the Cape Fear River, where a people not far from the days of slavery look forward to the promise of the twentieth century.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2011:
“This thought-provoking novel and its memorable cast offer an unflinching and fresh take on race relations, injustice, and a fascinating, little-known chapter of history.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011:
"Relying on historical records, Wright deftly combines real and fictional characters to produce an intimate story about the Wilmington riots to disenfranchise black citizens. An intensely moving, first-person narrative of a disturbing historical footnote told from the perspective of a very likable, credible young hero."

About the Author

BARBARA WRIGHT grew up in North Carolina, and has lived all over the world, from France, to Korea, to El Salvador.  She has worked as a fact-checker for Esquire and as a screenwriter. This is her first novel for children.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037586928X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869280
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,401,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Wright grew up in High Point, North Carolina and went to the University of North Carolina. After college, she spent two years in Seoul, Korea, teaching English to Koreans and editing a hotel magazine about Korean culture. From there she traveled alone through Southeast Asia and Burma, and then rode from Nepal to London in an army truck with roll-up canvas sides, camping out in the desert at a time when Afghanistan and Iran were open to travelers. She has also lived in France, El Salvador, New York, Kansas City, and at present lives in Denver with her husband Frank Gay. Her first novel, EASY MONEY, was published by Algonquin Books. Her Dust Bowl novel PLAIN LANGUAGE (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster) is a love story about two strangers who meet and start a ranch during the worst ecological disaster the country has faced. The novel won a Spur Award from the Association of Western Writers. CROW (Random House) is a novel for young readers about the 1898 race riot and coup d'état in Wilmington, NC. It received starred reviews in Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, The Horn Book, and School Library Journal. In her spare time she plays tennis and jazz piano.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Crow is simply a brilliant piece of historical fiction for young readers that brings to life an historical event that I for one did not know much about. In 1898 white supremacists staged the only successful coup in US history when they ousted the city government of Wilmington, North Carolina. The author shows us the events leading up to the bloody day and the traumatic events that occurred, through the eyes of Moses, a young 11 year old boy whose Grandmother spent the first thirty years of her life as a slave and whose mother was born into slavery.

Moses is a great character and his strong narrative voice makes this an incredibly compelling read. He strives to do the right thing, to make his father proud and to understand the events unfolding around him. He has a curious, intelligent mind and a thirst for adventure that sometimes leads him into trouble. He's been raised by his father to appreciate the value of an education, and by his Grandmother to appreciate his family and the old ways. His mother serves as an anchor between these two forces that often pull him in both directions at once. Moses' struggle to find where he stands between these two is wonderfully portrayed and his developing sense of self and his strength of character is cause for celebration even amidst the terrible events he finds himself caught up in.

Young readers will find themselves riveted not only by the exciting climax, but also by Moses' struggles against prejudice in his small town. They will identify with his wish to be treated like a man by his father, and his desire for more days of childhood, worrying only about games with friends and stories from his "Boo Nanny". Nothing is sugar coated in Wright's tale of the South.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
1898 Wilmington is an exciting time and place for a boy. Unfortunately, if you are a black boy, it can also end up being dangerous, as Moses soon learns. Only one generation away from slavery, Moses see that hostilities are still alive and well between blacks and whites. Yet he is proud of the fact that his father is not only one of the black aldermen, but also an employee of the largest negro run newspaper. It quickly becomes apparent that some people will go to any means necessary to prevent black men from gaining power, and Moses' life will be forever changed.

This book broke my heart, because while I knew it was fiction, I also knew it was based on very real historical events. The coup described in the book actually happened, and is a dark period in Southern history. And while the tale is one of sorrow, I think it is incredibly important that our youth learn these stories, so I am incredibly thankful that writers like Barbara Wright set their books against the historical backgrounds of oppression and racism. These are not easy tales to tell, but it is so important that they be told.

Books like this allow history to come alive for young adult readers, sparking an interest in both literature and history. I thought the characters were so vibrant in this book, and the story was very representative of postbellum, post reconstruction Southern life. The language and dialects sound authentic, and while there are some racial slurs used, it is within the scope of the story, being used by racist characters to represent their attitude. I think this is a wonderful middle grades book, and would be highly appropriate to read during Black History Month.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a student of African American literature and culture, I was very excited to get and read this book. Barbara Wright has done an excellent job in crafting her novel. In fact, I would place her in the ranks with Christopher Paul Curtis, of whom I am a great fan (Bud, Not Buddy/The Watsons Go to Birmingham). Her way of crafting fictional characters and weaving them into real historical events is admirable. What's more is her ability to successfully pepper an otherwise heartwrenching and disturbing novel with pathos and humor.
Interestingly enough, the last YA book(s) I read was the Hunger Games trilogy; a set of works extremely popular with the junior high/high school crowd. It was good, but it doesn't hold a candle to this in my opinion. I am speaking of sheer readability here.
Given the dearth of knowledge many school-aged children have about African American history and its intrinsic value to American history as a whole, I rather think this book should be compulsory reading in junior high or high school. I heartily believe it would be embraced by a teen (and adult) audience and leaves space for much discussion concerning civil rights etc.
Simply put, I adore this book. It made me laugh and also nearly brought me to tears on a number of occasions. It does a great job of portraying both the superstitions carried along from slavery days (Boo Nanny) and the progressive ideas of men who knew their worth in society, even if the majority didn't see or accept it yet.
Moses' journey--his coming of age tale--in an America on the brink of coming to grips with civil rights struggles, is awe-inspiring. He is a believable character; an admirable character. He is not perfect, but he aspires to be great and we as readers cannot help but root for him. Barbara Wright is a wonderful storyteller and I look forward to reading her next work(s). My guess is that she will earn great praise for this book. Well done.
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