Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry – by Mildred D. Taylor (1976)

Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry

This classic book is about a black family living in Mississippi during the years of the Great Depression. There’s Big Ma (the grandmother), David Paul and Mary (the parents) and their children – Stacey (12), Cassie (9), Christopher-John (7), and Little Man (6). Not far into the story, Uncle Hammer joins them, as well as an unemployed man named Mr. Morrison The Logan family owns a 200-acre farm, which was purchased after the Civil War from a northern carpetbagger. The white family that used to own the land wants it back, and will go to great lengths to get what they want.

The story is told by Cassie, the only daughter of David and Mary. Through her eyes you see the tightness of the family , as well as the harassment and prejudice that they experience from the white community. However, there are several whites who are portrayed in a positive light – Jeremy Simms, a classmate that does not share his family’s racial prejudices, and Mr. Jamison, a lawyer who supports the boycott against the local grocery store.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. The conversations between Cassie and her three brothers were very authentic, and sounded like any other siblings’ squabbles. But my favorite part of the book had to be when her brother Stacey came up with a plan to get back at the bus driver who was always humiliating them. I also found Jeremy’s relationship with the Logan kids interesting. He was trying so hard to be their friend, but there just wasn’t any way to have a bi-racial friendship work for them.

You should be able to find this book in just about any public library or school media center. It is also available as an audiobook, with an excellent narrator. I listened to her smooth voice read the story perfectly as I drove to and from work. It was hard to turn off the CD player and get out of the car. When I reached the end of the story, I found myself wanting to hear more stories about the Logan family. And indeed, there are more stories! Stop at your local library and check out one the books written about the Logans:

Song Of The Trees (1975)
Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry (1976)
Let The Circle Be Unbroken (1981)
The Friendship (1987)
Mississippi Bridge (1987)
The Road To Memphis (1992)
The Well (1995)
The Land (2001)

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Song Of The Trees – by Mildred D. Taylor (1975)

Song Of The Trees

Eight-year-old Cassie Logan loved the family trees. At a time when money was scarce and her daddy was away working for the railroad, the trees were a comfort to her. Some were ancient, some were young, but they all seemed to sing to Cassie with their leaves, telling her things would be alright. But one day, when she and her brothers were out picking blackberries, they spied two white men marking x’s on their trees. Who would stop them from cutting down the family trees?

 

 

This is Mildred Taylor’s first book about the Logans, a family living in Mississippi during the 1930’s. The book is short – only 52 pages in the copy I read. “Song Of The Trees” is a good introduction to the life of a black family after slavery ended but before the Civil Rights Movement Yes, they were technically free, but in practicality they were often treated harshly and unjustly by the white people in their community.

Although Cassie Logan is a fictional character, the story itself is based on a true event from the life of Mildred Taylor’s father. After this book, the author went on to write seven more books about the Logan family, some short, some hundreds of pages long. The events were inspired by stories handed down through the generations by older family members. People of almost any age will be deeply moved by the stories portrayed in these books.