Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Book review by Norah Caroline Piehl, Common Sense Media
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Common Sense says

age 11+

Compelling tale of family facing racism in '30s Mississippi.

Parents say

age 11+

Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 86 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 7+

Beautifully written & Important teaching tool for white families to help kids understand our country’s racist history

This is an ugly part of American history, but one that is important — especially for white families — to help our kids understand the truth behind the systemic racism in America today. I read this on my own first to see if it was suitable to read to my son to help him understand the context of what people of color are going through right now (and historically). I think my son may still be too young for this book (he’s an advanced 4 yo trying to understand what’s happening with racism in the world, why people would discriminate bc of skin color, & why’s that’s been legally allowed for so long). I also know that people of color don’t have the option to opt out of these conversations, so I may read it to/ with him anyway. I’m honestly not sure yet. Besides using the n word (in historical context), it has references to people being burned, tarred and feathered, lynched, and beaten. These aren’t described in great detail (more like a child overhearing her parents talk about many of these topics), except when the children visit a man who has been burned and can no longer speak, but does understand. The scariest part (& climax of the book) is when a local boy (TJ) just a few years older than Cassie (main char) gets into trouble when two white boys trick him into stealing and a lynch mob comes to get him. He ends up going to jail instead of being hung, but just barely. The book ends with Cassie realizing that even though her life will go on, TJ’s probably will not. It’s sad and sobering and definitely a book to read and discuss with your child. If my son were 6 or 7, I wouldn’t hesitate to read this with him. However, because the topic of how BIPOC have been treated for so long is so morally repugnant, I would not want him to read it on his own (unless he already understood the social/ political/ historical context). It’s an ugly, disgusting part of our history, but this book is written beautifully and tells a compelling story.

This title has:

Educational value
age 11+

Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry

The book was great! SO many tense parts that really got your nerves going adn it starts out slow but then KABOOM a hit of action. I really recomend

This title has:

Great messages

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love stories of the African-American expereince

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