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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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Why is the land so important to Cassie's family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she's black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family's lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how othe Why is the land so important to Cassie's family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she's black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family's lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how others may degrade them, the Logans possess something no one can take away.


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Why is the land so important to Cassie's family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she's black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family's lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how othe Why is the land so important to Cassie's family? It takes the events of one turbulent year—the year of the night riders and the burnings, the year a white girl humiliates Cassie in public simply because she's black—to show Cassie that having a place of their own is the Logan family's lifeblood. It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride—no matter how others may degrade them, the Logans possess something no one can take away.

30 review for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. Set in Mississippi during the Great Depression, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a searing portrait of family and self-worth. Every child deserves to know Taylor's firebrand protagonist, Cassie Logan, and experience her untiring battle against social injustices and racism.

  2. 5 out of 5

    melissa

    I first was exposed to this book in fifth grade and I have to say, it changed me forever. The struggles young Cassie Logan and her family faced as a strong black family in the Jim Crow south were eye opening to me. I guess as a child, until I read this book, I thought there was slavery and then there was freedom. This book taught me that there was a LOT of gray in between and it made me angry to know that there really wasn't justice and equality for everyone in my country, the way it was "suppos I first was exposed to this book in fifth grade and I have to say, it changed me forever. The struggles young Cassie Logan and her family faced as a strong black family in the Jim Crow south were eye opening to me. I guess as a child, until I read this book, I thought there was slavery and then there was freedom. This book taught me that there was a LOT of gray in between and it made me angry to know that there really wasn't justice and equality for everyone in my country, the way it was "supposed" to be. It was the first time a book exposed me to the idea that there can and is a disconnect between what laws say, what the government says, and what actually happens in practice. This is the first of a trilogy,followed by "let the circle be unbroken" and "the road to memphis." I loved the whole series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    karen

    when i was little, i would get dropped off at the library in lieu of daycare, particularly in the summer, when there were programs for kids without friends. so, if i spent my childhood in a library, how did i miss out on so many childrens classics?? just what was it i was reading?? (i think i read mostly lois duncan)but this book is great, really. i have learned to respect the newbery award - except for the black pearl(which is just a newbery honor, but still) this book could be republished as a when i was little, i would get dropped off at the library in lieu of daycare, particularly in the summer, when there were programs for kids without friends. so, if i spent my childhood in a library, how did i miss out on so many childrens classics?? just what was it i was reading?? (i think i read mostly lois duncan)but this book is great, really. i have learned to respect the newbery award - except for the black pearl(which is just a newbery honor, but still) this book could be republished as an adult book and no one would notice. the writing is very good - she has a great ear for realistic dialogue and she builds tension very well, it is even an adult-book-length! and i was so pleased that the ending didnt make everything all right. i wonder if the woodside library has summer programs for friendless kids. i may have to join them and take the lois duncan out of their hands.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    "I ain't nobody's little nigger!" The above sentence was hurled in anger by Cassie Logan, a young girl growing up with her strong, loving family in Mississippi at the height of the Depression. It wasn't the first time I cheered aloud for her spirit and bravery, and it wasn't the last. The Logan family may seem to be at the mercy of the local white folks, but they're not going down without a fight. Her mother attempts to explain to Cassie the facts: "How come Mr. Simms went and pushed me like he did "I ain't nobody's little nigger!" The above sentence was hurled in anger by Cassie Logan, a young girl growing up with her strong, loving family in Mississippi at the height of the Depression. It wasn't the first time I cheered aloud for her spirit and bravery, and it wasn't the last. The Logan family may seem to be at the mercy of the local white folks, but they're not going down without a fight. Her mother attempts to explain to Cassie the facts: "How come Mr. Simms went and pushed me like he did?" Mama's eyes looked deeply into mine, locked into them, and she said in a tight clear voice, "Because he thinks Lillian Jean is better than you are, Cassie . . ." When Cassie wonders if Mr. Simms thinks Lillian Jean is better because she is his daughter, Mama's answer stuns her: "No, baby, because she's white." Her father explains things a little differently: "There are things you can't back down on, things you gotta take a stand on. But it's up to you to decided what them things are. You have to demand respect in this world, ain't nobody just gonna hand it to you. How you carry yourself, what you stand for - that's how you gain respect. But, little one, ain't nobody's respect worth more than your own." The recorded version I listened to offers a powerful afterward by Taylor, whose great-grandfather was born a slave. "Racism still exists," she proclaims, before going on to decry attempts to "whitewash history" by banning books that may be "too painful" or use the "n-word." There is plenty of violence and terror in this book, but it's a compelling story that NEEDS to be read, and a lesson that needs to be repeated again and again. As Cassie's wise mother states, "Everybody born on this earth is something and nobody, no matter what color, is better than anybody else."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor should not be a book that anyone would want to read or enjoy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s biggest - and perhaps only - positive is that it is truthful about the horrors of racism in the ‘30s, especially in the South. Great for historical research and for understanding and knowing how to prevent such a thing from happening again. Other than that, it has nothing to recommend it. The characters are either annoying, stubborn, or racist. Cas Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor should not be a book that anyone would want to read or enjoy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s biggest - and perhaps only - positive is that it is truthful about the horrors of racism in the ‘30s, especially in the South. Great for historical research and for understanding and knowing how to prevent such a thing from happening again. Other than that, it has nothing to recommend it. The characters are either annoying, stubborn, or racist. Cassie is not the kind of character I can stand behind. She is stupid! Why are children in fiction novels almost always dimwits? Do adults see all children like this? People … there’s a difference between innocence and stupidity. I also very much doubt that even the most sheltering parents of all day - which Cassie’s parents aren’t, truly - could have kept Cassie from learning about racism when she is daily the subject of it. The whole book basically plays out like so: White people: *are racist and prejudiced and ignorant* Cassie: Why would they do that? I can’t believe they’d do that! I have absolutely no clue why anyone would behave like that. I’m just as good as them! Actually, Cassie is very stupid (not that her lack of mental prowess makes her less, technically), but that has nothing to do with her race. Everyone in this book is pretty stupid in a way. Cassie’s parents for not bothering to properly equipping their daughter to live in the sad world she was born into. Or any of their younger children. But somehow ten-year-old Stacey figured it out? What the what? The people who are not African-American are all stupid and heartless (with one or two possible exceptions). Uncle Hammer is an idiot who keeps getting the family into trouble by thinking he’s going to make a difference in society by being stubborn and stupid. Seriously, I know at some point that man is doomed to get killed! And I’m not saying that’s right - that so, so wrong - but …? Sometimes you have to just bear it. I’m sorry, but it’s really true. Or if you must die for the cause, which is some ways would be a very worthy thing to do, don’t do it in such a way that your brother, his wife, and his little ones will get killed, too! Stacey is actually decently intelligent, but he’s also foolish at times. Also, he seems a lot older than he is. But I suppose that’s realistic considering the times. I like Little Man. But calling him Little Man instead of Clay or something like that doesn’t make a ton of sense. I just so happen to like the name Clayton Chester Logan. Also, Logan is quite possibly the coolest last name ever. The African-American folks in this book all spoke with a demeaning way, but so did the white people. The word ‘negro’ (in variations) was used quite a bit, both by the African-Americans and by the white folks. I suppose that’s kind of realistic, but that doesn’t make it pleasant. As I said before, the issues of racism which were brought up were the only good thing about this book. It was painfully honest about all the lynching, the social injustice, how terribly the African-Americans were treated, etc. Pretty scary. However, that doesn’t override the fact that it just isn’t a good story. I think it’s important for people to know about these kinds of things, to be well-informed so this kind of prejudice won’t happen again (though I doubt we can prevent some form of it from happening eventually unless Jesus comes soon … people are pretty sinful and stupid as a whole, if you haven’t noticed). However, we shouldn’t be required to read bad books to get one little message. I’m sure there are thousands of great books out there who deal with this exact same subject in a much more tasteful and interesting way. And which have intelligent, informed characters. ‘Cause if the character doesn’t know what’s going on, then I can’t imagine some grade-school child reading this book will. It’s seriously a matter of this book just being to confusing and all-over-the-place (due to Cassie’s narrative) to be useful to children - its intended audience. It’s not worthwhile for an adult or teen, as there are better books out there for them, so its purpose is completely and utterly obliterated. ~Kellyn Roth, Reveries Reviews

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ariana

    I loved this book! It's definitely a must read for everyone. Here are a couple of my favorite quotations from the book: (During a conversation between Cassie and her mother after Cassie is treated horribly by Lillian Jean Simms and her father): "I didn't say that Lillian Jean is better than you. I said Mr. Simms only thinks she is. In fact, he thinks she's better than Stacey or Little Man or Christopher-John--" "Just 'cause she's his daughter?" I asked, beginning to think Mr. Simms was a bit touche I loved this book! It's definitely a must read for everyone. Here are a couple of my favorite quotations from the book: (During a conversation between Cassie and her mother after Cassie is treated horribly by Lillian Jean Simms and her father): "I didn't say that Lillian Jean is better than you. I said Mr. Simms only thinks she is. In fact, he thinks she's better than Stacey or Little Man or Christopher-John--" "Just 'cause she's his daughter?" I asked, beginning to think Mr. Simms was a bit touched in the head. "No, baby, because she's white." Mama's hold tightened on mine, but I exclaimed, "Ah, shoot! White ain't nothin'!" Mama's grip did not lessen. "It is something, Cassie. White is something just like black is something. Everybody born on this earth is something and nobody, no matter what color, is better than anybody else." Here's the other quote I really like: (Uncle Hammer chastising Stacey after Stacey foolishly gives away his brand new coat) "If you ain't got the brains of a flea to see that this T.J. fellow made a fool of you, then you'll never get anywhere in this world. It's tough out there, boy, and as long as there are people, there's gonna be somebody trying to take what you got and trying to drag you down. It's up to you whether you let them or not...If you want something and it's a good thing and you got it in the right way, you better hang on to it and don't let nobody talk you out of it. You care what a lot of useless people say 'bout you you'll never get anywhere..."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alissa Patrick

    What an important piece of work. You know it's worth reading when it's a Banned Book. “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” made the American Library Association most challenged book in 2002. Some cases where “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” was banned or challenged: **1993: A Louisiana high school removed it from its reading list because of “racial bias.”Mar 24, 2014 This book is about family and the strong ties that bind them, as well as racism in America during the Great Depression. It takes place in M What an important piece of work. You know it's worth reading when it's a Banned Book. “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” made the American Library Association most challenged book in 2002. Some cases where “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” was banned or challenged: **1993: A Louisiana high school removed it from its reading list because of “racial bias.”Mar 24, 2014 This book is about family and the strong ties that bind them, as well as racism in America during the Great Depression. It takes place in Mississippi in 1933, only 68 years after slavery ended. The Narrator is a young black girl named Cassie, and it takes place throughout an entire year, as her family struggles with keeping their cotton farm, all while dealing with cruel and harsh treatment from white townsfolk. This book won the Newberry Medal in 1976, and I know why. What an amazing book. The audiobook is so powerful_ i highly recommend it. Not only is the story vividly told, but the author herself discusses her life and experiences that molded this novel and it's truly inspiring. And awful. Twice I had to stop the audio and get up and do something else, because I couldn't handle the emotions I was feeling with it. Anger, sadness, embarrassment, disbelief, to name a few. Anger by far was the most prevalent. A historical fiction novel this is... and isn't.... mainly on the historical part. This garbage is STILL going on, it's still prevalent in this world today and that's sickening. This story takes place in 1933, it was published in 1976, and here we are, in 2016, and this book hasn't dated at all. So sad.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This review was written for my young-adult literature class... Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor is a beautifully narrated novel about racism, class distinction, friendship, pride, and love. This novel is told from the perspective of young Cassie Logan, a fourth-grade black girl, and its naïve and innocent voice encourages readers of all ages to question the nature of human cruelty and the universal subject of inequality. This is a coming-of-age, young-adult novel that illustrates th This review was written for my young-adult literature class... Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor is a beautifully narrated novel about racism, class distinction, friendship, pride, and love. This novel is told from the perspective of young Cassie Logan, a fourth-grade black girl, and its naïve and innocent voice encourages readers of all ages to question the nature of human cruelty and the universal subject of inequality. This is a coming-of-age, young-adult novel that illustrates the complexities of racial and social discrimination inside a community that depends on each of its members, regardless of racial or social status, to survive. Throughout the book, Mildred Taylor writes with a distinct style and uses setting and sound to symbolize the growing tension in her novel. The first half of her title, Roll of Thunder, also serves as a major motif throughout the novel. Taylor writes with a preoccupation for sounds and she develops the extended metaphor of the growing storm to emphasize tension in the community as well as the need for and the inevitability of relief. In the beginning pages of the book, Cassie describes the Jefferson Davis County School, the school that the white children attend. The most noticeable detail in Cassie’s description is the school’s Confederate flag that flies above its American flag—showing that racism is very prominent in the community. In these opening pages, the setting is described as dry and hot. The story is still introducing its characters when the tension begins with the rumors of the burnings. The dust from the hot weather, in these opening chapters, dirties the children as they walk to and from school; but, this dust is light and undamaging—Little Man cleans himself of it before he even gets to school. However, the story gets more complex with the introduction of Papa and Mr. Morrison (whose voice was like “the roll of low thunder” (37)), and following the plot’s increasing complexities is the increasing storm. When the rain first begins, it seems light and trivial, but very soon it comes down in torrents, turning all the dust to mud. The children are covered as they march to and from school and in their misery they intensify the community-tension by sabotaging the white children’s bus. Big Ma speaks to Little Man about his concern for the mud, but she also provides a thread of hope amid the books overall theme of racial equality: “ Lord, child, don’t you know one day the sun’ll shine again and you won’t get muddy no more?” (45). As the story continues, the storm also continues to grow. Although the story is increasingly more intense, there are moments of flux when both the plot and storm seem uncomfortably peaceful; however, each of these times proves to be the warmth and the peace before an even bigger storm erupts. At the very end of the story, the tension is at its peak. The electricity from the lightning fills the air as the Logan children accompany the injured T.J. back to his home. At this point the Wallaces drive up in a “crescendo of ugly hate” (254) that seems to echo the lightning and thunder, and soon it seems that the whole community is at war—ironic since many of the men fought together in the Civil War. T.J. is taken away, Papa leaves the house, and the field starts on fire; there is a frenzy of commotion and anxiety as Big Ma and Mama leave to save the land. The rain finally comes as a relief from the storm and the fire. The Logan children laugh joyously into the thundering night before heading to the fields where they find the entire community, regardless of race, working together to put out the fire. In perhaps the most poignant moment of the book, the community gathers together to work and to save what matters most to them. The book ends with pouring rain, which suggests that neither the literal storm nor the storm of inequality is over (as would the appearance of a rainbow for example); however, the rain suggests relief and hope. Survival and equality in the community is possible—they must work together amid the war. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a book that captures its readers through its emotional story and its captivating narrative. Mildred Taylor uncovers many issues regarding racial and societal inequality through her complex characters. Her novel is one that describes the harshness of reality, but it does so while providing hope for the future. I loved this book. I read it in elementary school and remember weeping at the end. Reading it again I realize how many complex issues it discusses and how beautifully it is written. Cassie Logan is the most intriguing narrator. This book is a must read for children.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Wow. I read this when I was a kid but reading it now... it's a different experience. Every day I watch videos of white people, emboldened BY Trump's presidency, calling Black people niggers or telling minorities to go back where they came from... and while I was reading this, I just felt a quiet sort of rage. Mildred Taylor has created a family that isn't the damn Cosby show. They are a simple unit, happy and content, but not unaware of what's going on around them. They are aware of the white pe Wow. I read this when I was a kid but reading it now... it's a different experience. Every day I watch videos of white people, emboldened BY Trump's presidency, calling Black people niggers or telling minorities to go back where they came from... and while I was reading this, I just felt a quiet sort of rage. Mildred Taylor has created a family that isn't the damn Cosby show. They are a simple unit, happy and content, but not unaware of what's going on around them. They are aware of the white people around them, but not afraid of them. Cassie is... a typical big mouth 9 year old. I love her character though... and she is the perfect narrator for this story. I felt the strength from Cassie's mom, dad, and Uncle Hammer flow through me as I read this. I would never bow down to a white person... ever. And I'll be damned if I ever will. And my daughter, like Cassie, will follow on those footsteps.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kyungnan Gam

    'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry' is a book about racism in America during the Great Depression. During reading this book, it made me feel anxious that the idea of racism, judgment, criticism, and stereotypes are existing in our society. I feel bad for the people who are considered different from us just by how they look, what their race is, and what their skin color is. I wish that it will be gone forever. With a sudden flash, BOOM. NO RACISM. Everyone is treated fairly. Everyone is equal. That's 'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry' is a book about racism in America during the Great Depression. During reading this book, it made me feel anxious that the idea of racism, judgment, criticism, and stereotypes are existing in our society. I feel bad for the people who are considered different from us just by how they look, what their race is, and what their skin color is. I wish that it will be gone forever. With a sudden flash, BOOM. NO RACISM. Everyone is treated fairly. Everyone is equal. That's my dream society. That's my hope and wish that might happen in the future. However, I know that this is what cannot happen in reality. People's thoughts. Our thoughts about people who have different aspects and characteristics should change. It is our thoughts that are making people in our society being judged and criticized. We need to start thinking in another way about people, humans. That is how we can finish racism. I thought to myself while reading, "When will racism end? When will the idea of racism be gone and be broken in our society?", and I think that the answer is that, racism and criticism of people who are different from "normal" people will never end. It will last as long as it can. Forever. Until we come to a day when everyone starts to abandon the thoughts and stereotypes and make a new society where there is no racism existing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Saskia B

    I truly had high hopes for this book, as it is highly recommended. However, I am completely dissatisfied by the whole story. The whole story is against racism, and yet all whites are evil and racist except for a few exceptions, and all blacks are hardworking and good except for a few exceptions. The characters are all boring and one sided, and has little to no character development. All the characters are so similar that you get mixed up with who’s who. Also, there was too much description. WE D I truly had high hopes for this book, as it is highly recommended. However, I am completely dissatisfied by the whole story. The whole story is against racism, and yet all whites are evil and racist except for a few exceptions, and all blacks are hardworking and good except for a few exceptions. The characters are all boring and one sided, and has little to no character development. All the characters are so similar that you get mixed up with who’s who. Also, there was too much description. WE DID NOT NEED TO DEVOTE SO MANY PAGES TO A HISTORY OF THE LOGAN FAMILY. Honestly, no one cares about the Logan family history. This was a terrible book and DON’T BUY IT.

  12. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    This has been on our family book shelf f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Sorry I took so long to actually read it. It is marvelous! The main protagonist, nine-year old Cassie Logan, is also the delightful narrator. Excellent, if not sobering way to introduce middle schoolers+ to racism in America in the 1930s. I cannot help wondering what kind of equivalent book will be written about our era for the young people of tomorrow...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    This is a tremendously beautiful story. By the time it ends you feel like you know every single character. I hated to say goodbye to the Logans but I am also afraid to read the other stories in case they are not as good. Truly important book which continually made me ask myself, "Would I have done that if I grew up in that culture?" It is a scary question.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Demetrius Rogers

    What a great story, set to the context of the segregated South. I read this to my kids and, as a half black man, I was proud to expose them to such an important segment of our history. I grew up largely in a white community, and now so do my kids. So to have a portal into the the American Negro past was truly a blessing. I'm proud to have an African-American descent and I want them to be as well, or at least gain awareness and a sense of solidarity with their forebears. All of us loved the story. What a great story, set to the context of the segregated South. I read this to my kids and, as a half black man, I was proud to expose them to such an important segment of our history. I grew up largely in a white community, and now so do my kids. So to have a portal into the the American Negro past was truly a blessing. I'm proud to have an African-American descent and I want them to be as well, or at least gain awareness and a sense of solidarity with their forebears. All of us loved the story. LOVED the characters. Loved the Logan family! And oh, to know each one of them - Pa, Mama, Stacey, Cassie, Christopher John, Little Man, and Big Ma. Talk about personality! And talk about a family rich in love, frugality, industry, dignity (when it was hard to come by), and human goodness. Mildred Taylor says in the forward of her book that although the story is fiction, it consisted of the stories she grew up listening to by fireside. So, yes, the story may have been fiction, but the stories it represented were not. It had all the elements of reality. This stuff happened. These people lived. And their lives are memorialized in this narrative. And I love when stories have real-life complexity. Stories that highlight the many facets of human nature - the tender, the beautiful, all the way down to the tragic. I highly recommend this book. And plan to revisit it again as a family.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris Thompson

    Mildred D. Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, on its surface, seems to be a response to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. They're both similar in their setting and their themes. While a major theme in both is racism in the Jim Crow-era South, they tackle this theme from different perspectives. Harper Lee's heroine is a young white girl, and Mildred D. Taylor's young heroine is a young black girl. To Kill a Mockingbird was written 16 years earlier than Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and perh Mildred D. Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, on its surface, seems to be a response to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. They're both similar in their setting and their themes. While a major theme in both is racism in the Jim Crow-era South, they tackle this theme from different perspectives. Harper Lee's heroine is a young white girl, and Mildred D. Taylor's young heroine is a young black girl. To Kill a Mockingbird was written 16 years earlier than Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and perhaps in 1960 it would have been more difficult for a black woman to write the sort of critique of the South that Lee does. However, one of the problems with To Kill a Mockingbird is that it tells its story of racism from the safe eyes of a young white girl, and its portrayal of race ends up being condescending. It takes a virtuous white man like Atticus Finch to defend the injustices done to the black community, and in the novel Atticus is revered as a saint. On the other hand, Taylor's Logan family is strong and self-sufficient and doesn't need the aid of whites to survive. Taylor tells an inspiring and compelling drama. Nine-year-old Cassie Logan is a fortunate young girl because her family owns their own land. In 1933 in Mississippi, this is a rare thing for a black family, and the other black families are sharecroppers, owing huge debts to the more powerful white farmers in the area. This helps keep the white-black power hierarchy of slavery times alive. The whites don't like the face that the Logans own their own land, because it makes them independent, which is a kind of power on its own. Cassie is the second youngest of four kids, with her oldest brother Stacey beginning to transition into manhood, her next oldest brother Christopher-John the most timid of all, and her youngest brother Little Man not afraid to speak his mind, and a strong little mind he has. Cassie and her brothers live with their mother, Mary, and grandmother, Big Ma, and her father, David, spends most of the year in Texas working on railroads. The family grows cotton to help pay off the mortgage and taxes, while David's money buys things the family needs. Mary earns some extra income as well, teaching at the local school for blacks, where she spreads progressive values. The Logan kids walk a mile to school every day in the short school year, which is based around the crop cycle. The white kids ride the bus to a separate school, and the bus driver takes special joy in tormenting the black kids that cross its path. This upsets Little Man, who prides himself on his cleanliness, when the bus sprays him with red dust from the road on his first day at school. Little Man is also upset when he and his classmates receive books for the first time, but they turn out to be ragged hand-me-downs from the white students. Little Man's teacher scolds him because she believes everyone should be happy with what they have, but the Logan family disagrees. It's a matter of equality and fairness. Other important characters include T.J., Stacey's best friend. He likes attention and will do anything to get it, even though this gets him into big trouble. There is also Mr. Morrison, who Cassie's father brings from the railroads to live with the family because he got himself into some trouble. He's a very large and very kind man, and it's clear that Cassie's father, David, feels better having him there to protect the family from danger. The main antagonist is Harlan Granger, whose family used to own the land the Logans now own, and he wants to buy it back from them. When the Logans begin trying to shake up the white power, Granger does everything in his power to try to get them evicted. Cassie's Uncle Hammer stirs things up even more when he comes from Chicago to visit and shows off his brand new car. In Mississippi, blacks should know their place, but Uncle Hammer isn't afraid to flaunt what he has. The story is told from the perspective of Cassie, in the first person, and it's clear to readers that she and her brothers are only beginning to realize the realities of racism that is an everyday source of fear for the adults. Cassie has a strong sense of fairness, and when she, Stacey, and T.J. are neglected by a white shopkeeper in favor of the white patrons, she speaks her mind without realizing the dangers of doing so. She doesn't understand why her grandmother won't back her up in another dispute with a white girl, either. She's expected to keep her mouth shut though it goes against her very nature. Worst of all, the law turns a blind eye to the crimes committed by whites against blacks. For example, everyone knows the Wallaces, another powerful white family in the community, burned two black men for supposedly flirting with a white woman, but nothing's done about it, and Cassie doesn't understand why. She has a sense that everything should be fair, but hasn't yet realized that the world she has grown up in is more fair to some than to others. There are a couple of sympathetic whites in the novel. There's the boy, Jeremy Wallace, who tries to befriend the Logan children. He doesn't like the way his family treats blacks, but because he's a Wallace, the Logans are wary of his attempts to befriend them. The reader can't help but root for Jeremy, and it seems the story is about to head in a direction towards friendship when Stacey confesses to his father that he actually likes Jeremy and thinks he would be a good friend. His father, however, warns Stacey that good things rarely come from a relationship between a black and a white man. The white man, being in a position of power, will always think of himself as better than the black man, and one day the sweet and innocent Jeremy might think himself a man while he still regards Stacey as a boy. Pragmatism is more important for survival than romanticism. The other sympathetic white man is Mr. Jamison, a lawyer who helps the Logans with their mortgage and other legal matters. He takes a big risk when he decides to help them shake up the racial power dynamics by backing the credit of the other blacks in the community so they can shop somewhere that they won't be held ransom to their debt. The Logans are reluctant to accept his offer, but find that they have no choice. It would seem that this black family must rely on a benevolent white man to improve the situation of their town, but things aren't so simple, and Mr. Jamison is not portrayed with the same reverence as Atticus Finch. Most of all, this is a story for young teens. It's about a young teenage girl growing up in a harsh and unfair world, though still experiencing the same growing pains and life lessons as anybody else. Anybody can relate to this story, and it has an even deeper resonance because of this nation's history. It has a beautiful story, and its power is felt the strongest at its conclusion. While I agree that everybody should read To Kill A Mockingbird, I also believe the same is true of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It is a powerful, important, and enjoyable piece of American literature.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Beth Knight

    Another reread for me. Given to me as a gift from a friend of my parents, I first read this when I had just turned 13. Although I didn't remember a lot of details (37 years have passed since I read it) I do remember loving the characters, especially Cassie and Little Man. I also remember being incredulous that people were treated in such an awful way just because of the color of their skin. Although I consider myself to have been somewhat naive back then, and also a late bloomer, I grew up in a Another reread for me. Given to me as a gift from a friend of my parents, I first read this when I had just turned 13. Although I didn't remember a lot of details (37 years have passed since I read it) I do remember loving the characters, especially Cassie and Little Man. I also remember being incredulous that people were treated in such an awful way just because of the color of their skin. Although I consider myself to have been somewhat naive back then, and also a late bloomer, I grew up in a liberal household where racist comments were never made (thankfully). I remember being shocked when I first heard kids use "the N word", and other words that were used to describe people of different races, a lot of them I didn't know and had to ask what they meant. My feelings about the book haven't changed. I still loved all the members of the Logan family, probably even more than I did when I was 13 because I understand so much more. Being older and "wiser", I saw so much more of their strength and passion. I didn't remember Uncle Hammer and on this reading of the book he became one of my favorites. I don't even remember which family friend gave me the book but now I see how cool and "on point" they were way back in 1977. This is one of those books I think everyone should read. I'm so glad I was given this book and that I kept it. I think it's one of the only books that I still have from when I was young. It came with me every where I moved and will remain with me, both figuratively and literally.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    In this award-winning novel for young people, all the black people (with possibly one exception) are honest, kind, hardworking, ambitious, intelligent, and good looking. All the white people (with one or two exceptions) are cruel, dishonest, malevolent rednecks, who persecute the "colored people" for no reason at all. Historically, the Jim Crow era wasn’t all smiles and sassafrass tea, but there were good and bad people on both sides of the street, just like now. In our current climate of politi In this award-winning novel for young people, all the black people (with possibly one exception) are honest, kind, hardworking, ambitious, intelligent, and good looking. All the white people (with one or two exceptions) are cruel, dishonest, malevolent rednecks, who persecute the "colored people" for no reason at all. Historically, the Jim Crow era wasn’t all smiles and sassafrass tea, but there were good and bad people on both sides of the street, just like now. In our current climate of political correctness, the pendulum has swung in the other direction, but young people are still required to read this tripe. Let's hope that English teachers will soon get a clue.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

    I really really enjoyed this book... until the end. I'm certain that it was realistic, but still! How depressing. I really disliked T.J. from the start, and didn't know what Stacey liked him. All in all, this was pretty good history-wise, (as far as I could tell) but not enjoyment-wise.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    Mildred Taylor is a fantastic storyteller. I had previously read Song of the Trees, a short book that tells a story that comes just before the events of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It's an intriguing and rather haunting book. But in Roll of Thunder, Taylor has more space to build a very powerful story of daily life and racism in Mississippi in the Great Depression. I imagine that there are few reviews of this book that don't also mention To Kill a Mockingbird. The settings and events have a lo Mildred Taylor is a fantastic storyteller. I had previously read Song of the Trees, a short book that tells a story that comes just before the events of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It's an intriguing and rather haunting book. But in Roll of Thunder, Taylor has more space to build a very powerful story of daily life and racism in Mississippi in the Great Depression. I imagine that there are few reviews of this book that don't also mention To Kill a Mockingbird. The settings and events have a lot of similarities, and the storytelling in each book is of the highest quality. Harper Lee's classic shows racism in the South through the eyes of a strong, young white girl who is just learning about the systemic problems; Taylor tells a similar story through the eyes of a strong, young black girl. Both perspectives fit together to form a satisfying whole. I'll mention two things that I particularly liked about Roll of Thunder, and one thing I didn't. First, I loved the strength of the Logan family members. They show this strength sometimes in resistance, sometimes in compassion, but always with hope that life will improve, and with an unshakeable commitment to everyone else in the family. I found this very inspiring, that each family member knows what his or her role is at any given time, fulfilling that role as best as they can. Second, I like the ever-watchful, guardian role that nature plays throughout the story. The imagery is not heavy-handed, but Taylor indicates that the trees have a voice and are watchful over the events that transpire. The wind and the rain also play a part that's more than simply a background environment. This quiet emphasis on nature helps convey themes of change and tradition, things that are lost and things that persist. What I didn't like about the book is the moments in which a character gives a speech that is, for my tastes, a little too precise and plain. Instead of letting the story show what Taylor wants us to learn from it (and the story is great at this), she sometimes has characters come right out and tell us what we should be learning--like when Mama explains racism to Cassie. I wanted the author to trust her story more--and I'm interested to see if Taylor became more comfortable with this as she continued to write about the Logans. That criticism aside, however, I do love this book and recommend it highly. I look forward to reading the rest of the Logans series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    3.5 stars Having just finished The Help for the 2nd time, I was already in a place to appreciate this book, and for the most part, I did appreciate it. The Help takes place in the early 60's in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early stages of the Civil Rights movement. It's a very personal story about 3 women struggling with who they are, both in general and in the environment in which they live. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry takes place in the 30's just outside of Jackson, MS, and deals with a lo 3.5 stars Having just finished The Help for the 2nd time, I was already in a place to appreciate this book, and for the most part, I did appreciate it. The Help takes place in the early 60's in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early stages of the Civil Rights movement. It's a very personal story about 3 women struggling with who they are, both in general and in the environment in which they live. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry takes place in the 30's just outside of Jackson, MS, and deals with a lot of the same issues... Roll of Thunder focuses on the Logan family and their land. Paul Edward Logan bought their land in two parts during hard times after the Civil War, and ever since, the man who used to own it has been trying to get it back in an effort to remake the South how it used to be. Things are not pleasant in 1930s Mississippi. There's a definite imbalance of power with white people having almost all of it, and black people having almost none. This story is about the Logans trying to make a change to that imbalance, even though it is a small one. It's also about finding ones identity, and taking pride in it regardless of what others think or say about you. Mostly, I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read for me, and it was brutal and thought provoking. But in a way, it fell short of my expectations. It never really moved me in the way I had hoped to be moved, and even the brutality and the shame and the hurt felt by the characters didn't really affect me in the way that I had hoped it would. I love nothing more than to be heartbroken by these kinds of books, to be left kind of empty and hurting... but I didn't feel that with this one. Perhaps that is due to the fact that this was told in first person by Cassie Logan, who is 9. On the one hand, this worked in the book's favor because it allowed for a sort of innocence and naivete. Cassie doesn't understand the dichotomy of equality in the South. She thinks that the mistreatment and rudeness are due to forgetfulness and a "grownups vs kids" thing, or just a greediness, in the case of some. She blithely underestimates the fact of skin color in the equation. To her, the hate and the meanness aren't due to the fact that she is black and they are white, it's due to the fact that they just want what her family has (the land) and will do anything to get it back. Which is true, partially, but the fact that they are black gives them less legal ground to stand on, and makes the fight that much more dangerous. But where I felt that the 1st person lacked was in the rest of the story. It worked well for the innocence and the idealism, but I didn't feel that the family or their neighbors or the story was all that well fleshed out. There were times when I read sections and didn't know how we got there. One minute Cassie is thinking that she needs to do something about the girl who was mean to her, and the next we're in the middle of a protracted plan of action, with no bridge getting us from there to here. This is Cassie's story, so I would expect to at least have a hint of her plans, but instead it felt like it lapsed into a different story for a bit there. I also felt that some of the things that Cassie saw were unrealistic, and there was a kind of inconsistency regarding when the parents tried to shield her and the other kids and when they didn't or forgot that little ears might be listening. And to add to that, at times I felt that Cassie was kind of annoying in her demands and talkbackitude to be able to tell the story, and that kind of grated on my nerves. At 9, she was both intuitive enough to know when she'd get in trouble for something, but stubborn and oblivious enough to ignore the real potential danger of running off at the mouth... So Cassie heard, and thus told us, a lot more than I think she should have been able to realistically. Finally, I thought that the ending was a bit of a letdown as well. There was no resolution about the land, or about the secondary plots. There's an ending, a realistic one, likely - but it's unsatisfying. Things come to a head, and then it just ends. This is part of a series, and that probably has a large part to play in the way the ending ended, but I just feel that there was a big something missing, and I'm not sure that I was invested enough in the story to continue on with the series. I will give kudos to Taylor for telling as honest and brutal a story as she did, and for not softening the blows or the cruelty or the hatred for her readers. At least I didn't feel that she did. There was a palpable feeling of fear and anger throughout the story, as well as menace and a cruel calculation and manipulation on behalf of the men who have the power. A surety that they will win because the law is on their side. I thought that this aspect was very well done. I am not sure if I will continue on with the series. But I am glad that I read this. It was good, and I feel like if I had read it in school or when I was younger, it would have had a huge impact on me. Reading it today, I can appreciate it for what it is, but I feel like it's missing the impact I wanted it to have.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Cassie Logan doesn't understand why possessing land means so much to her family, nor does she realize that so many of the white people around her think she's inferior to them. Then the night riders appear, threatening the black people in her community with tar and feathers and burning, and Cassie herself is humiliated by a white girl. Taylor's depiction of the moral choices the Logans must make is complex: though they may want to resist (and Cassie does several times), there's a fine and dangero Cassie Logan doesn't understand why possessing land means so much to her family, nor does she realize that so many of the white people around her think she's inferior to them. Then the night riders appear, threatening the black people in her community with tar and feathers and burning, and Cassie herself is humiliated by a white girl. Taylor's depiction of the moral choices the Logans must make is complex: though they may want to resist (and Cassie does several times), there's a fine and dangerous line they cannot afford to cross, lest they be the next targets of the night riders. The characterization is excellent, not only of Cassie, but of her whole family and her friends, of the white people who target them and the few who support them. This is one of those books I can't believe I missed when I was growing up, but at least I can make sure my son reads it in a few years.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mississippi Library Commission

    It's amazing to us that this book is forty years old. It's as powerful and relevant now as it was in 1976, perhaps even more so. White is something just like black is something. Everybody born on this earth is something and nobody, no matter what color, is better than anybody else. From their love of the land to their love of one another and their fellow man, the Logans are a family that you need to spend time with. Highly recommended, even if (especially if) you've read it before.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    What a brilliant and powerful middle grade novel! I am not super into children's literature, and I wouldn't have read this if I didn't need a children's classic for both Read Harder and PopSugar, but I'm glad I did. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry depicts a short time in the life of the Logans, a close-knit black family in 1930s Mississippi. It is SO stressful to read at times, which means Mildred Taylor did an excellent job evoking the fear and tension and injustice that was part of the life of a What a brilliant and powerful middle grade novel! I am not super into children's literature, and I wouldn't have read this if I didn't need a children's classic for both Read Harder and PopSugar, but I'm glad I did. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry depicts a short time in the life of the Logans, a close-knit black family in 1930s Mississippi. It is SO stressful to read at times, which means Mildred Taylor did an excellent job evoking the fear and tension and injustice that was part of the life of a family like Cassie's. She also balanced that so well with the love between Cassie and her family, and the ordinary moments that made up their daily life. I really wish I had read this as a kid--I don't remember being exposed to a lot of books by or about people of color, and I think I would have loved this book and benefited from reading the Logans' story. In any case, I think this book really is a classic and could still be incredibly resonant for kids today. *Used for PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge prompt "A childhood classic you've never read" and Read Harder 2018 prompt "A children’s classic published before 1980."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    This book, much like The Giver, and Number the Stars, was one that I always, ALWAYS saw lying around during mid-elementary/junior high... even high school. One of those books that I never got around to reading. I just realized that all three of these books have a little gold circle somewhere on the cover - so maybe that means my teachers just always had Newberry Medal Winners on hand. Maybe my kids will be saying the same thing about When You Reach Me... Who knows... The teachers were right to have This book, much like The Giver, and Number the Stars, was one that I always, ALWAYS saw lying around during mid-elementary/junior high... even high school. One of those books that I never got around to reading. I just realized that all three of these books have a little gold circle somewhere on the cover - so maybe that means my teachers just always had Newberry Medal Winners on hand. Maybe my kids will be saying the same thing about When You Reach Me... Who knows... The teachers were right to have this one in their rooms. It's very good. It doesn't paint a rosy picture of Jim Crow south, but you know what? It's not all black and white (pun intended) and I appreciate that as well. White does not always equal bad, and black does not always equal good in this book. The characters are more complex than that, and there's quite a cast, as well. That said, man racism drives me crazy. Several parts will probably stick with me from this book, but if there's one I want to stick with me, it's the scene where students are receiving their text books. Every kid from a public school remembers filling these out at the beginning of the year... although, that may soon be replaced by digital everything... You know: (Caveat Emptor on that book, by the way...) At any rate, there were spots for the white school, and spots for the black school. The first dozen years it was issued, it was issued to the white school - with the condition of the book moving from "new" to "good." From "good" to.... well you get it. Once the books were "poor" they were given to the black school. Maybe something minor, but the minor is often indicative of the major. Roll of Thunder is a work of fiction, but Mildred D. Taylor wrote an afterward for this edition, in which she talks about developing these stories from the stories she heard during her childhood. Most of us, by this point, have heard these tales of state-sanctioned racism before. They're worth hearing again. And in Newberry fashion. I'll be going back and reading the rest of this series soon.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    Roll of thunder Hear my cry Over the water Bye and bye Ole man comin’ Down the line Whip in hand to Beat me down But I ain’t Gonna let him Turn me around. I started reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor because it is a Newberry award-winning children’s classic. I did not expect it to hit me as hard as it did. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. The book is narrated by Cassie, a precocious nine-year-old girl who lives with her family in the Deep South. The book begins with all t Roll of thunder Hear my cry Over the water Bye and bye Ole man comin’ Down the line Whip in hand to Beat me down But I ain’t Gonna let him Turn me around. I started reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor because it is a Newberry award-winning children’s classic. I did not expect it to hit me as hard as it did. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. The book is narrated by Cassie, a precocious nine-year-old girl who lives with her family in the Deep South. The book begins with all the children complaining about having to go to school. Cassie dislikes her starched dress. Little Man, Cassie’s youngest brother is unhappy that his clothes and shoes are getting dirty from walking in the mud — why can’t they ride the bus like the other kids? This book is so much more than I thought it would be. I adored these kids from the minute I opened the book. Their banter, their chatter, their endless questions felt real to me — and I’m a primary teacher, so I’m fussy when it comes to kids being written in books. This book is so layered, so richly complex. It takes on such difficult, such ugly issues like racism and demonstrates to the reader that racism is a lived experience. Cassie lives it. She lives it when she can’t ride the bus, when she’s bullied in the street and told to step into the gutter, when she’s called words so ugly they make her tummy feel sick. Children all have a greater understanding of justice and fairness than I think most people realise and what I like about this book is that any child who’s reading it will understand what is fair and what is not fair. Taylor taps into that sense of justice on many different levels and creates what I think would be a powerful discussion between child and book, or child and reader. I think this book is wonderful at any age. All of the adult characters are wonderfully fleshed-out, sensitive and are written with considerable depth. I felt like I should take notes when Ms. Logan spoke to her children about racism at night, while she sat on Cassie’s bed. There’s a moment in this book where almost all the characters are affected by racism. What Taylor does best is demonstrate, with considerable subtlety, how racism affects not only the victims, but their families and their friends. This book is powerful. Mildred D. Taylor, your cry has been heard.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a fictional story about the Logan family who are African Americans living during the 1930s depression in Mississippi. The plot is narrated by Cassie, the daughter of the Logan family. Each of the events in the plot teaches Cassie the importance of owning land and that the sacrifices to maintain that ownership are worth the struggles because of the freedom the land gives the family. The plot also speaks of the injustices done to African Americans during the time. T Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a fictional story about the Logan family who are African Americans living during the 1930s depression in Mississippi. The plot is narrated by Cassie, the daughter of the Logan family. Each of the events in the plot teaches Cassie the importance of owning land and that the sacrifices to maintain that ownership are worth the struggles because of the freedom the land gives the family. The plot also speaks of the injustices done to African Americans during the time. The story reads as a bildungsroman as Cassie learns and grows from the experiences told in the novel. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I thought the characters were portrayed well, especially the children. I also enjoyed the language of the book because it mimicked the way people would have talked. The events, particularly the ending, were intriguing and pushed the reader to read more. My main complaint about this novel is that sometimes the pacing was really slow. In particular, the beginning of the story moved slowly for me and it was not until the end that I really became riveted and had to read more. Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it to students in middle school.

  27. 4 out of 5

    steph

    I don't remember the first time I read this book. I could have been ten years old, I could have been twelve or fifteen years old. I also cannot tell you how many times I have checked this book out from various libraries, just to re-read the Logan's all over again. But what I can tell you is that, hands down, this is one of the most life changing books I have ever read and the lessons I have taken from this book (and its subsequent books) are indescribable. This family, how they are strong and rig I don't remember the first time I read this book. I could have been ten years old, I could have been twelve or fifteen years old. I also cannot tell you how many times I have checked this book out from various libraries, just to re-read the Logan's all over again. But what I can tell you is that, hands down, this is one of the most life changing books I have ever read and the lessons I have taken from this book (and its subsequent books) are indescribable. This family, how they are strong and right during a time when its easier NOT to be strong and right. Words cannot explain how formative this book was to me as a youth and continues to be to me as an adult. "Baby, we have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here." Mama cupped my face in her hands. "And I pray to God you'll make the best of yours."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    2018 re-read -- dang, it's just as amazing and addictive as when I read it the first time. This time around, I thought about all the ways in which things are still the same or how injustice has transformed. Cassie and her fam are so heartwarming and funny and I love them. I partially re-read this because Angie Thomas said it was one if her childhood faves and the Logan fam definitely reminds me of the Carters. I think Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the best book title ever btw. I remember this 2018 re-read -- dang, it's just as amazing and addictive as when I read it the first time. This time around, I thought about all the ways in which things are still the same or how injustice has transformed. Cassie and her fam are so heartwarming and funny and I love them. I partially re-read this because Angie Thomas said it was one if her childhood faves and the Logan fam definitely reminds me of the Carters. I think Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the best book title ever btw. I remember this book from 5th grade, but didn't read it until I was 24. It just stays with you and so does the story and the family and the setting and all of it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    If empathy is one of the goals of reading, then I think this book is important for all children to read at some point in their education (probably 5th-8th grade would be most appropriate). I love how the reader draws us into the African-American experience in 1933 Mississippi. Beautifully written, and a fun book to teach.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    Life is a challenge for the black folks in Mississippi during the 1930s. Cassie and her brothers learn about injustice and racism as they grow up. But there is love of family and their parents teach about what is really important; to be a self respecting individual.

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