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on July 6, 2002
Orphaned, angry, and bitter, twelve-year-old Will arrives in the Virginia Piedmont immediately after the Civil War to live with relatives he has never met. Will's father died fighting for the confederacy and his mother and siblings also died as a result of the war. Now Will's only home is with his Uncle Jed, a pacifist, whom Will considers a coward because of Jed's refusal to fight in the war. But as Will matures physically and emotionally he recognizes his own fears and weaknesses and the battles he fights in the Piedmont are far different from the battle he thought he had come to fight with his Uncle Jed. Recurring conflicts between Will and the other characters keep the book exciting for young readers. Teachers will find Shades of Gray an important addition to their Civil War study materials for its contribution to helping young readers understand the lasting effects of the war on the communities and families divided by the conflict. Ages 9-12.
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on April 1, 1999
Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder is fiction.Nevertheless, it shows the untold hardship that war can inflict on innocent people. The civil war between the Yankees and the Confederates has ended. But it has created a vacuum in the life of Will Page, a 12-year-old boy. He has lost his entire family in the war. his father and brother have been killed by the Yankees, his two sisters have died of typhoid, and his mother of heartbreak and grief. A sad picture indeed!!Without any hope of support, Will finds himself in a state of quandary. His animosity is directed not only to the Yankees but also to his uncle Jed for refusing to fight in the war. He has lost the very thing he adored most in life- his family. In accordance with his mother's death wish, he is to be sent to Uncle Jed, a man he despises for his 'cowardly' action to join the Confiderates. However, he has no choice. The battle for survival transcends certain boundaries and contingencies. Therefore, he condescends to live with Uncle Jed and his family, always struggling to adjust from the urban civilization he's lived with to his uncle's rural way of life.Acceptance of the generosity of his new family has its own toll on Will. He must learn the skills of rural life to eke out a living and justify the board of hospitality offered by this lovely but poor family. He learns really fast and bears himself upright. With time the civil war becomes 'ancient history' to Will. His attitude to Uncle Jed changes gradually; he is right for not fighting in the war. His family has suffered for staying out of the war as much as Will's family for fighting. Although the book is fiction, the message is quite vivid. People should fight for what they believe and not be led by the nose.Will's decision to live a rural, rather than an urban life later on, demonstrates his acceptance of this truth. He's been exposed to the stark realities of life. Uncle Jed is not the coward or traitor he once thought him to be.He rather admires Jed for his wisdom, courage, and conviction. The conflicts of this book are really challenging.Every young person who reads it has a lot to learn about the ups and downs of life. This text refers to the paperback edition of this title.
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on April 30, 2015
Although perhaps overly simplistic, this book points out the fallacy of thinking in absolutes--the idea is that no one is ever entirely bad (or wrong) or entirely good (and right). Historically, however, it goes a little overboard on the moral equivalency of conducting the war--suggesting that both North and South harmed civilians. This may be true; but there was a substantial difference of intent and degree. For instance, the Confederates burned 1 northern town; the Union burned hundreds. The union policy was of destroy the Souths ability not just for the army to wage war--but for the civilian population to feed itself. By contrast, Confederate armies took only what they needed; it was not done for revenge or to impoverish civilians. Maybe it's a distinction without a difference to some people (and of course now it's popular to say this was to expiate the sin of slavery--although that was not the justification given at the time) but this book glosses over some facts that are pretty relevant to the discussion and would have made for a more nuanced story.
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on March 29, 2001
Shades of Gray, by Carolyn Reeder, is an exciting historical fiction book about the Reconstruction Era. The story takes place in a small town in Virginia, in the first years following the Civil War.
Will, a twelve year old shy city boy, just recently lost all of his family. His father and brother were killed by the Yankees, his sisters died of typhoid, and his mother of grief. He has to go live with his Uncle Jed in Virginia, who refused to fight for the Confederacy. Will considers him a traitor and refuses to call him Uncle Jed. When Will gets a letter from Doc. Martin, an old family friend, saying that Will can come and live with him now, he leaps at the chance.
Is Will going to leave to live with Doc. Martin? Or will he stay with Uncle Jed? How will he resolve his feelings about Uncle Jed? Find out in Shades of Gray.
The author is good at making suspense in this book, which makes it hard to put down. The author really paints a picture in your mind. She also uses very descriptive words. She brings you back to those days in her writing. I give this book four out of five stars. I would recommend this book for all ages. Reading this book will enhance your understanding of the Civil War.
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on January 17, 2013
I had read this book back when I was in middle school in 8th grade. Thanks to the OTHER book "50 Shades of Gray" no one knows this book even really exists. Everyone I mention the name of it to says "Isn't that the book that's about sex?" and I tell them "NO!" that's FIFTY Shades of Gray, NOT "Shades of Gray". Thank you SO much to the author who made that disgusting raunchy book. You're giving the kid's novel a bad name now because everyone thinks it's the same book.

Anyway, THIS book is a great book and it's enjoyable to read. I got my copy on hard cover for Christmas. Shades of Gray was the very first school novel that we had to read that I really enjoyed. In fact it was the first book I FINISHED reading ahead of my class and aced all the chapter quizzes because I was always 3 chapters ahead of everyone. I couldn't put the book down. I highly recommend this book to any reader looking for a good story line and who enjoy a little bit of a learning experience.

Reading Shades of Gray you can end up getting sucked into the book so much that when you're reading each sentence you can see the whole thing playing out like a movie. It's like you're right there in the book watching the whole thing. That's amazing for a book to be able to do that.
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on May 25, 2014
While reading this book I really didn't understand the meaning, perfecting books with adventures and mystery. Though, after I finished, I realized I wouldn't have finished this book in less than two days if it wasn't up to scratch. This is a relatable book about internal struggle, pride, and judgement. Though this book doesn't have mind blowing plot twists, and a fast paced plot, it definitely has the simplicity, emotion, and a good moral that everyone can love. I recommend this to everyone who doesn't need a fast paced plot to keep them happy.
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on May 18, 2004
Shades of Grey is an excellent book. It is about a boy whose dad and his brothers go to fight in the war and end up getting killed. Also his sisters died because of malnutrition and his mom died of depression. So Will had to go live with his aunt. But he doesn't want to because his uncle refused to fight in the war. One element that I noticed a lot was flashback. Will kept remembering how his life was so different when he lived in Winchester.
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on March 21, 2011
This is not the best book I have ever read, but it is certainly a good one. The author does a good job of pointing out that there were good people on either side of the Civil War. This is something that is often glossed over in education. Typically one side is vilified while the other is lauded. The protagonist's journey is relate-able for children who are on their own moral journeys. All people must go through times when they find that they can no longer agree with what they used to believe, and it takes a great deal of strength to encounter it head-on.

Helping students/children understand that the world is not made up of white and black hats is vital to their development. From modern issues of immigration and religious fervor, there are many connections that can be made between what the characters in the book experience and what children and adults experience today.
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on July 23, 2012
I had to read this book for school. I was of course reluctant because, come on, be honest who ever wants to read a book that they are forced to. But after I started the book I never wanted to put in down. This book is about a 12-year-old boy named Will Page. The Civil War has just ended and Will has lost everything he cared for. His father got killed while facing the enemy, his brother, a civilian, got killed by a solider, both his sister died of typhoid and his mother died from being sick. The now orphaned boy was sent to live with his Aunt, Uncle and cousin, which was his mothers will. The book is about how everything about your life can change in a matter of days, seconds really. How you begin to feel things for people who you didn't particularly respect. This all started with me being forced to read a book for school it ended with me learning the true meaning of never judge a book by it cover.
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on June 2, 2013
I wanted this to read for my teaching. It was a great historical fiction story the 5th grade really loves. Since I teach it each year, I got my own kindle copy so I can refresh my memory over the summer.
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