Book reviews of YA lit and more

As a middle school librarian and hopeful reader of Missouri's high school award books (Gateway nominees), I am reading and reviewing as many young adult and middle grade novels as I can while working on my own writing for this age group.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands- Susan Carol McCarthy

This wonderful little book reminded me so much of one of my all time favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird.  Reesa is a young girl growing up in Florida during the 1950's.  Her father owns and operates a large citrus farm with the help of some black people that are also their good friends.  The book begins with the murder of Marvin Cully, a black teenage boy that is the son of Reesa's parents good friends and best help on the farm.  The Ku Klux Klan is very active in this part of Florida at this time, and Marvin's murder is just the beginning of crimes the KKK is responsible for.  Reesa's father gets involved with trying to get the FBI to put a stop to the KKK, but it is tricky because unless it involves a federal crime, the FBI  is unable to help.  Of course, the local and state law inforcement are card carrying KKK members themselves.  I loved Reesa's character, and her father and grandmother make me proud that at least there were some people back then that knew the poor treatment of blacks was wrong and weren't afraid to do something about it.  This book is somewhat of a memoir, in that the author truly did grow up on a citrus farm in Florida during this time period.  She admits to altering some of the details, but the basic story is true, which  makes this story all the better to me.  I would recommend this to high school students (great companion to To Kill a Mockingbird) or adults.

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