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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although Crow culminates in the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898, it is really a coming-of-age story of an 11-year-old boy trying to make sense of the world around him: why some people have more than he does, why he has to hide his friendship with the white boy he meets at the swimming hole, and why uneducated men have more power than his intelligent and well-spoken father. Author Barbara Wright doesn't shy away from the violence of the riot or events leading up to it, nor does she sensationalize -- presenting them in a straightforward way, true to the way a young boy would view them.
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What's the story?
In 1898 in Wilmington, N.C., 11-year-old Moses is looking forward to summer. Though his grandmother was born a slave and his mother works as a housekeeper for a rich white family, Moses takes for granted that his journalist father is right: A good education will allow a man to be anything he wants to be, no matter what the color of his skin. But as the summer heats up, so does the political climate. A long-anticipated train trip with his father turns into a run for their lives as they barely escape a rally by white supremacists. A local election tirggers a violent race riot, and Moses must reconcile the world his father has told him exists with the world he sees around him.
Is it any good?
In CROW, Wright skillfully portrays a difficult and mostly unknown period of history and puts it in the hands of a very appealing narrator. Moses' innocence and intelligence let him analyze the changes around him in a straightforward, unflinching manner that will be easy for young readers to relate to. Although Moses never accepts unfairness, under the influence of both the folk wisdom of his grandma and the formal education of his father, he comes to an understanding of the world around without abandoning hope.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the novel's title, Crow, which comes from the Jim Crow laws that segregated blacks from whites in the South, though these laws are not referred to in the book. What kinds of racial injustice occur in the story even before the White Declaration of Independence formally takes away the black population's rights?
Why is Moses' father so upset with him for helping the editor of the newspaper escape town? Why did Moses think his father would be proud of him?
Why do you think this novel was published in time for Black History month?
Themes & Topics
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