Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Author: Mildred D. Taylor
Grade Level Equivalent:
Guided Reading Level:
Classics, Historical Fiction
African American History, African American, Determination and Perseverance, Pride and Self-Esteem, Family Life, Prejudice and Tolerance Experiences
The land is all-important to the Logan family. But it takes awhile for Cassie and her three brothers to understand just how lucky they are to have it. They must learn the hard way that having a place they can call their own in rural Mississippi permits the Logans the luxuries of pride and courage that their poor black sharecropper neighbors can't afford.
Having land gives the Logan children an emotional foundation as they begin to notice the difference between how white children and black children are treated in the Jim Crow South of the Great Depression. Like how textbooks are only issued to black children — labeled "nigra" in the book's inside cover — after they've been thoroughly used by white children. And it takes injustices such as these, and a turbulent year of intense racial prejudice, of night riders and burnings, to show Cassie just how important owning their own land is.
Winner of the 1977 Newbery Medal and nominated for the National Book Award, the story of Cassie Logan, an independent girl growing up relatively protected in a loving family, is culled from author Mildred Taylor's own family's life. It not only stands as an important addition to the cumulative record of the African-American experience, but crafted with astonishing verisimilitude, it stands as an important contribution to young adult literature as well.