Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Taylor, Mildred D.
Santa Barbara : Cornerstone, 1989.
IL 5-8 RL 6.9
ISBN 0140384510

(4 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Mississippi in the depression was tough on Blacks. One family who owned their own 400 acres tells us their story in the book. We are with Cassie, the young girl who learns for the first time that she doesn't get the same respect as the white neighbors. We watch Stacey, the oldest son, begin to get wise to his friend TJ's tricks and deceits. This story of a family struggling against the odds of beating a system that clearly gives advantage to the whites, is a good way to get a feeling of how injustices are corrected and how much personal conviction is needed to keep up the fight.

Booktalk #2

This is the story of the Logan family.  They are fighting to stay together and to stay strong in the face of racist attacks, illness, and poverty in the 1930's South.  As a poor black family, they see the ugly side of Southern living.  The tale is told through the eyes of fourth grader Cassie Logan.  Cassie is young enough not to understand much of the social injustice.  She is constantly questioning the chasm between blacks and whites.  Through her eyes, we come to understand the day to day existence of the family.  Fortunately for Cassie and her brothers, they have a strong, loving family that can pull together in troubled times.  Spend time with Cassie as she learns how to survive in a place that isn't always fair. 

Booktalk #3

Cassie lives in a little community near the town of Strawberry. Her family makes a living from their cotton crops and working their land. She has three brothers, a mother, a father, and a grandmother. Her father works on railroads. Stacy, little man and Christopher John all go to a black school and have to walk for a couple of miles to even get to school. There were significant racial issues present. The white students bus rides by them every day and splashes mud on them from its tires and the white children make faces and call them names. Their mother is a school teacher and ends up getting fired because she teaches her class things from her own life experience. Will this hard-working family be able to get past these hard times of little money, no respect and house burnings? Only in this book will you find out.  (Angelica Donald, student, Mansfield High School)

Booktalk #4

The year is 1933, and Cassie is a young African-American girl attending Great Faith Elementary and Secondary School in Mississippi. Times are hard for all during the country’s depression, but blacks are especially hit hard in this rural area. Prejudice, fear and talks of night hangings surround Cassie and her brothers, Stacey, Christopher John and Little Man.

Cassie’s family is unusual for this area, for they are landowners. Mr. Granger, the white bigot, is jealous of this land, for his family once owned it, and it never stops trying to intimidate and scheme Cassie’s father and Uncle Hammer out of the land. Cassie’s family has pride and the other African-Americans have grown tired of the unfair treatment by Granger and his associates. Quietly, a boycott is organized against the local storeowners who overcharge the black community. The boycott is challenged when African-American workers are threatened with losing their jobs. Still, the boycott continues with supporters both black and white.

The book made me angry at the prejudice expressed, upset me when foolish choices were made and helped me see how hard it must have been for an African-American in rural 1933 Mississippi.  (Melissa Bowman,, Armstrong
Middle School)

SUBJECTS     African Americans  -- Fiction
                        Southern States -- Race relations  -- Fiction


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