Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple
Lester, Julius.
New York : Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, c2005.
IL 5-8, RL 4.4
ISBN 9780786804900

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

For two days it rained. It rained and rained and rained, drumming so loudly on the metal roof that you almost couldn’t hear yourself think, much less the calls the auctioneer. It was like the heavens were crying for all of the people being sold and torn from their families, the only lives they ever knew. And not just a few people – 400 slaves were auctioned over the course of these two tumultuous, rainy days. This intriguing, heartbreaking book is a fictionalized account of the largest slave auction ever held in the United States. After his divorce, Pierce Butler turns to gambling and places his family into extreme debt. To repay his debtors, Butler auctions more than 400 slaves over the course of two Though he vows to keep her, Butler succumbs to greed and sells Emma, the daughter of two slaves who grew up with Butler.

The story is told in flashbacks from various points of view, including Emma, her children and grandchildren, Mr. Butler and his children, the auctioneer and many of the slaves being auctioned.And they all agree – that last day was a day of tears.   (Georgia Peach Book Awards, 2006-2007)

Booktalk #2

The largest slave auction in United States history took place on March 3, 1859 at a race track near Pierce Butler's plantation in Georgia. Four hundred-thirty-six men, women and children were sold that day because Mr. Butler, although a wealthy man, had lost a substantial amount of money gambling and had to cover his debts. Imagine being herded into a horse stall and waiting for days until it came for your turn to be hauled out into the pouring rain to be displayed like an old piece of used furniture, torn from your mother and father, your boyfriend or girlfriend, never to see or hear from them again. The title of Lester’s book Day of Tears, hardly describes the pain of this day – yet we need to hear the voice of Emma, a 12-year old house slave whom Mr. Butler promised not to sell no matter how hard things got. The Butler sisters, themselves were divided on the question of slavery—one loyal to their father and one opposed to slavery. Told from both the perspective of the whites and the blacks involved while the events were happening and looking back on them years later, readers will feel the ache and sadness of slavery and its impact on the people involved. [Caution: the n-word is used frequently throughout this book.]  (Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards nominee, 2008-2009)

SUBJECTS:     Slave trade -- Fiction.
                        Savannah (Ga.) -- History -- Fiction.
                        Slaves -- United States -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.
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