Saturday, March 20, 2010

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Some books are classics for a reason. I remember reading Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry when I was in middle school. Fifteen years later, I'm teaching it. I know Mildred Taylor's novel so well by now, I could probably recite an entire chapter (and the chapters in this book are long!)

My students connect so much with the story of the Logan family's struggle to keep their land and battle against racism in 1930s Mississippi. They feel victorious (some classes even clap) when Cassie takes her revenge on Lillian Jean Simms and are stunned to silence and tears by the fate of TJ Avery. The end scene gives me goosebumps every time with its stunning imagery. Occasionally I run into a high school alum that will recite the poem from the beginning of Chapter 11 (I didn't even need to look up the chapter number) verbatim. It's a beautiful thing to see students love a book so deeply.

If you haven't read Roll of Thunder since you were eleven, it is time to check it out again.

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