Synopses & Reviews
It is the spring of 1861, and the serenity of Smith County, Mississippi, has been shattered by Abraham Lincolns declaration of war on the South. Young and old are taking up arms and marching off to war. But not ten-year-old Frank Russell. Although he is eager to enlist in the Confederate army, he is not allowed. He is too young, too skinny, too weak. After all, hes just Shanks,” the baby of the Russell family. War has a way of taking things away from a person, mercilessly. And this war takes from Frank a mighty sum. Its nabbed his Pa and older brother. Its stolen his grandfather, his grandmother. It has robbed Frank of a simpler way of life, food, his boyhood. And gone are his idealistic dreams of heroic battles and hard-fought victories. Now all that replaces those images are questions: Will I ever see my father and brother again? Why are we fighting this war? Are we fighting for the wrong reasons? Will things ever be the same around here?
"Like many novels that have civil rights at the center of them, this is not an easy read, but it is worth the effort. McMullans well-chosen words realistically portray the conflicts that Sam, her mother, and those around them face. The truths the teen learns are timeless, allowing readers to identify with her. Make room on your library shelves for this one."—School Library Journal,
"When 14-year-old Samantha Thomas moves to Jackson, Miss., in 1962, following her fathers death in Vietnam, she learns about love and hate all in the same year...Though this fine volume easily stands by itself, McMullan links it with two previous works—How I Found the Strong (2004) and When I Crossed No-Bob (2007)—and readers who read the first installments will feel that they are in the midst of an excellent historical saga."—Kirkus
"This historical novel set in 1962 Mississippi spotlights the tensions of the early civil rights movement through the evolution of 14-year-old Sam, a former army brat transplanted to her recently deceased father's home state when her mother accepts a teaching job at the local college. McMullan (Cashay) effectively captures the Southern setting and frames Sam's conflict between belonging and doing the right thing in the face of racial prejudice...It's a high stakes novel that powerfully portrays the bravery and loss of a tumultuous time."—Publishers Weekly
"Along with the street-litstyle plot (if not language), Cashays spirited voice and non-frothy prose will draw both confirmed and newer fans of inner-city drama."--Kirkus Reviews Cashays relationship with Allison is effectively rendered in all its complexity . . . this story offers definite thematic echoes of McMullans historical When I Crossed No-Bob . . . particularly in the topic of creating a family and surviving when the world youve always known crashes down around you.”--The Bulletin
"McMullan again proves herself to be a superb prose stylist, creating a haunting portrait..." Kirkus Starred 10/01/07 Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"This will make a fine addition to libraries seeking to expand their historical fiction offerings." SLJ November 2007 STARRED School Library Journal, Starred
"The simple prose can be pure poetry." Booklist 10/01/07 Booklist, ALA
"[A] deeply philosophical, first-person account of life...uplifting and heartbreaking as the same time." Bookpage, November 2007 Bookpage
"McMullan allows Addy to tell her own tale in an ingenuous present tense." The Horn Book Jan/Feb 2008 Horn Book
"Addie's voice is likable and she embodies the common theme in YA literature of rising above." KLIATT 11/01/07 KLIATT
"Suspenseful plotting and language...very appealing characters...a compelling portrait of life in Mississippi during Reconstruction." Bulletin February 2008 Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This first-person, present-tense narrative makes Addy's story vibrant and realistic." VOYA February 2008 VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"McMullen's first work for children is exquisitely written, its elegant prose fully up to portraying both the pastoral beauty of Mississippi and the horrors of war. The short, sometimes graphic story carries layers of meaning, evoking the complicated legacies of the South and the new world coming in the war's terrible wake...Unforgettable." Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Shank's narration is crafted with such delicacy and precision..." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Infused with rhetoric that is as meaningful today as it was two generations ago, this young teen's account of a life-changing summer not only opens a window to history, but also displays Nolan's brilliant gift for crafting profoundly appealing protagonists."--School Library Journal
"Idealistic readers will relate to fierce Esther's determination to join the March on Washington and realize positive change, even as the powerful, troubling conclusion resists sentimental solutions."--Booklist
Margaret McMullan, the acclaimed author of How I Found the Strong, and When I Crossed No-Bob, delivers a masterfully crafted novel about photography, tragedy, romance, racism, and family set in the segregated South during the civil rights movement.
It's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father--he was a war hero--and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father's conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don't quite fit in.
People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother's artist friend, Perry, are in the South to "agitate" and to shake up the dividing lines between black and white and blur it all to grey. As racial injustices ensue--sit-ins and run-ins with secret white supremacists--Sam learns to focus with her camera lens to bring forth the social injustice out of the darkness and into the light.
In her fourteen years living in a Chicago housing project, Cashay has never ridden in a taxi cab, seen the city lit up at night, or set foot in a museum. Shes not pretty, or graceful, or bubbly like her little sister, Sashay. She gets her family by on a couple of dollars and food stamps every week.
No, Cashay has never felt much like a treasure. Your name doesnt signify who you are,” Cashay tells her sister.
But that was before Sashay was killed. Before her mother started using again. Before her mentor, Allison, showed Cashay a bigger piece of the world, and encouraged her to finally, finally step into it.
A name may not signify who you are, but in this poignant coming of age story by acclaimed writer Margaret McMullan, readers will find that indeed, Cashay is an exception to her own rule.
Life as an ODonnell is all twelve-year-old Addy knows, and life as an ODonnell means trouble.
Tucked away in a gray patch of woods called No-Bob, the ODonnell clan has nothing but a bad reputation. So when Addys mama abandons her on the afternoon of Mr. Frank Russells wedding celebration, nobody is very surprised. A reluctant Mr. Frank and his new wife take Addy in, and Addy does everything she can to prove that at least one ODonnell has promise. But one day, Addy witnesses a terrible event that brings her old world crashing into the new.
As she finds herself being pulled back into No-Bob and the grips of her ODonnell kin, Addy is faced with the biggest decision of her life. Can she somehow find the courage to do whats right, even if it means betraying one of her own?
This novel takes place 10 years after HOW I FOUND THE STRONG ended and deals with the reconstruction and race relations after the war. Told from the point of view of 13 year old Addy, who is abandoned by her redneck family and taken in by Shanks (from STRONG) and his new wife. There Addy learns she can make different decisions than those dictated by her own racist family. Vivid scenes involving the Ku Klux Klan, a school burning and attempted lynching add drama to this riveting coming of age historical novel.
Author, Margaret McMullen captures the hardship and hardscrabble feel of this post-Civil War time as well as the hopeful rebuilding of southern communities.
One summer, one person, can change your life forever
Powerful fiction by National Book Award-winning author Han Nolan. Its 1963, and fourteen-year-old Esther Young has struck up a friendship with a black teen accused of murdering a white man in Alabama. King-Roy Johnson shows up on Esthers doorstep that summer feeling betrayed by the nonviolent teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. Sent north by his mother to escape a lynch mob, he meets a follower of Malcolm Xs who uses radical teachings about black revolution to fuel King-Roys anger and frustration. But with each others help, both Esther and King-Roy learn the true nature of integrity and find the power to stand up for what is right.
About the Author
Margaret McMullan is the acclaimed author of When I Crossed No-Bob and How I Found the Strong, as well as the adult novels In My Mothers House and When Warhol Was Still Alive. Her work has appeared in such publications as Glamour, the Chicago Tribune, and Michigan Quarterly Review. She is a professor and the chair of the English department at the University of Evansville in Indiana.