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The Sittin' Up Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (January 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399257233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399257230
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5–8—The year is 1940, and Mr. Bro. Wiley of the Low Meadows community near Rich Square, North Carolina, has died. The last man in the area who was born a slave, he was beloved by his friends and neighbors. The Stanbury Jones family, with whom he lived after his wife died, is especially saddened by his death. Three quarters of the book describes in excruciating detail the reaction of individual members of the community to his death and their preparations for the sittin' up. (As was customary, the deceased was returned to the house the day before the funeral so that mourners could view the corpse, say their final good-byes, reminisce about the departed, and enjoy a bountiful meal.) The story is told by Bean Jones, who loved Mr. Bro. Wiley and, at almost 12, is just old enough to attend his first sittin' up. The night of the event, Low Meadows floods and the residents evacuate to the town of Rich Square, where they remain until the waters recede. The whites and the coloreds (the term used throughout the book) work together with the Red Cross to help those affected. This is more of a description than a story of a close-knit community on the verge of major changes in the way African Americans are viewed and treated. There is very little action, and the subject of historical funeral rites will appeal to a limited audience.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC

From Booklist

Moses returns to the setting of National Book Award finalist The Legend of Buddy Bush (2004) in this heartfelt novel. When Mr. Bro. Wiley, 100 years old and the last slave man in the Low Meadows, finally goes “on home to be with the Jesus” during the summer of 1940, folks are sure torn up about it. Twelve-year-old narrator Bean recounts the “sittin’ up,” or wake, the first he’s attended. There’s a lot to be done to welcome guests into Bean’s house. There’s also a storm on the horizon, fit to land smack in the middle of the sittin’ up, and it could flood the Ole River. The book is heavy with preparations early on; by the time readers get to actual sittin’ up, the stage is set for some memorable scenes. The cast of characters is so colorful—from “loose,” red dress–wearing Miss Florenza to portly Reverend Hornbuckle—that, in spite of the impending disaster, the events are comedic, even laugh-out-loud funny. Bean’s matter-of-fact first-person narration introduces a resilient African American community and the great legacy of a man whose “death changed us all in some way.” Grades 5-8. --Ann Kelley

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It’s hard to believe that a child’s grandparents could have been slaves in the South in this day in time, but the past is really not far in the past and Sheila Moses brings that fact to life in her book The Sittin’ Up. A child born in the 40’s could easily have had parents born in the late 1800’s and grandparents living in the mid-1850’s. “Slave papers” were a reality. Ms. Moses puts a face on this reality in the presence of Mr. Bro. Wiley and gives us a picture of life in the black community of Low Meadows in Rich Square, NC.

This book is educational and inspiring. Having lived in Northampton County for 23 years I continue to be amazed at how much I don’t’ know. I was an “outsider” in so many ways, but I should have done better. I should have had a deeper understanding of why names such as Creecy and Faison were held in high esteem. Indeed, if I were black I would have long ago heard of The Legend of Buddy Bush before Ms. Moses wrote the book.

Ms. Moses invites us into a piece of history that is too easily forgotten. Something as simple as the death of an old man reminds us that customs and practices have dignity and significance. Young people and adults of all races should read this book to realize that we forfeit in gaining from the richness of character and community when we segregate ourselves from one another.
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By Book lover on March 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Awesome book. I am from the area and it reminds me of many of the stories I've been told as a child.
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