I’m going back through books I never read growing up, reading award winners and the like just to see how they’re put together and what made them great. (It also helps that many of them go on sale over time in the Kindle store, so I can get them for about $2 each.)
While I continue to love fantasy, my obsession with it throughout grade school meant that I skipped over a lot of great reads at the time. (Though to be honest, a lot of these Newbery winners would have been skipped by younger me anyway, just because they would have looked boring. Island of the Blue Dolphins? Who wants to read that? Remember, this is 10 year old me speaking.)
This is just to say that I finally read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and wow! What an incredible book! For those of you who don’t know, it’s the story of an African American girl in the south at the height of segregation. It incorporates history and characters into a riveting account that does a wonderful job of personalizing this painful part of America’s past.
One of the things I love most about books is their ability to transport us into another person’s life. We get to see their thoughts and feelings as they go through the experiences of the novel. I feel like this can help humanize people who otherwise would be Other, if that makes sense. It’s what I tried to do to an extent in VODNIK (though sadly the book never really had a chance of getting published in Slovakia. Each time we tried, publishers froze up as soon as they heard it had a Roma as a main character.)
This is a fast read, which makes what it pulls off even more impressive. To pack that much emotion into so few pages is a feat to be applauded. I loved the book from start to finish, and definitely give it a 10/10. Should be read, even by young boys who might think it looks boring.
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