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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Paperback – April 12, 2004
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"The vivid story of a black family whose warm ties to each other and their land give them strength to defy rural Southern racism during the Depression. . . . Entirely through its own internal development, the novel shows the rich inner rewards of black pride, love, and independence despite the certainty of outer defeat." —Booklist (starred review)
"The strong, clear-headed Logan family . . . are drawn with quiet affection and their actions tempered with a keen sense of human fallibility."—pointer, Kirkus Reviews
"The events and setting of the powerful novel are presented with such verisimilitude and the characters are so carefully drawn that one might assume the book to be autobiographical, if the author were not so young."—The Horn Book
About the Author
Mildred D. Taylor is the author of nine novels including The Road to Memphis, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, The Land, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Her books have won numerous awards, among them a Newbery Medal (for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry), four Coretta Scott King Awards, and a Boston Globe—Horn Book Award. Her book The Land was awarded the L.A. Times Book Prize and the PEN Award for Children’s Literature. In 2003, Ms. Taylor was named the First Laureate of the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature.
Mildred Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. After graduating from the University of Toledo, she served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia for two years and then spent the next year traveling throughout the United States, working and recruiting for the Peace Corps. At the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism, she helped created a Black Studies program and taught in the program for two years. Ms. Taylor has worked as a proofreader-editor and as program coordinator for an international house and a community free school. She now devotes her time to her family, writing, and what she terms “the family ranch” in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Top customer reviews
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Although the tropes that Taylor uses are by now familiar to many readers—the strong matriarch, the family’s profound connection to the land, the irredeemably racist white folks (as well as the supportive and empathetic white folks)—her depiction of them through Cassie’s young but sensitive perspective lends them an authenticity and an impact that’s difficult to deny.
The plot might also be rather predictable, but the novel itself succeeds as an accessible way for young readers to understand the social injustices of early twentieth century life for southern blacks.
Mildred Taylor takes us through a culture of violence and prejudice, and some tools in how to survive these atrocities in strength and grace. The night riders were real. But there were also others who refused to take part in such activities. Tawdry drinking establishments were just as real, but there were some who learned to avoid those traps. There were traps of vengeance, of easy money, of false friendships.
The children in this family also learned to stand for what was right, even when it cost them dearly.
We could all learn these lessons, no matter the color of our skin. These are transferrable values, how to stand for righteousness and justice, what makes up a true friendship, even how to make honorable living work when everything seems to lean the other way.
I would recommend this book, not only for this historical value in the black-vs-white issues that still plague our nation, but in how to be honorable when all those about you seem dead set against you.
I have heard that one elementary school has chosen to remove this award-winning book from its library. That is a shameful decision.
As a result of that decision, I chose to buy the book and review it. It is a book well worth reading, one that still speaks to our time.
Roll of Thunder is a children's book and the narrator, Cassie Logan, is a smart, bold and resourceful 9-year-old girl. Cassie is aware of racism to some extent (she and her brothers go to a blacks-only school, after all), but her parents try their best to shield their children from it. As the plot unfolds, however, Cassie is faced with scorn, intimidation and bullying from white people; she also learns from adults about much scarier stuff like beatings and night riders. Both Cassie and the gentle reader are spared the most horrific details, but if you know a bit about this period of US history, you can easily fill the missing blanks.
Despite its bleak subject and target audience, the book never indulges in black-and-white (ahem) morality, and its portrayal of characters is far from simplistic. Even the most vile racists in the book are portrayed realistically, with plenty of attention to detail; you can tell they were not born monsters, but became monsters of their own free will. Even the ending is ambiguous, a hard-won victory that feels more like a minor respite and may yet prove futile in the long battle for equality. For a children's book, this is a surprisingly grown-up outlook. I like it and if I ever have kids I'm looking forward to reading this book with them.
I really liked the character of Mr. Morrison because he was not rude. He controlled himself and just took care of things.
He was quiet; he was strong; he did not start things; he just finished them.
I feel that reading this book gave me more respect for people of color. I did not like that the book ended where it did, and would have really enjoyed more of the story.
I would very much recommend this book to other people. It explains history, and it is very intriguing. I think a lot of people could learn a lot from reading this book. I hope whoever reads this book learns and respects it as much as I did.