Roll of Thunder is a children’s book written by Mildred D. Taylor and the narrator, Cassie Logan, is a smart, bold, and resourceful 9-year-old girl. Cassie is aware of racism against the blacks to some extent but her parents try their best to shield their children from it. As the plot unfolds, however, Cassie is faced with scorn, intimidation, and bullying from white people; she also learns from adults about much scarier stuff like beatings and night riders.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the inspiring story of the Logan family in Depression-era Mississippi. Based on her own family’s history with enslavement, the writer’s story about one Black family’s struggle to keep their land, their independence, and their pride amid racial discrimination create a compelling and emotionally rich experience for middle-grade readers. The writer is telling us about the Logan kids regarding some local white men who lit members of a black family on fire.
Although the Logans own their own land, many in the black community are sharecroppers. Sharecroppers are farmers who do not own the land they work. In exchange for the use of the land, the farmers must give a certain percentage of their harvest to the owner. The themes of this book are also very powerful. Throughout this novel, many themes emerge such as racial injustice, poverty, and land ownership.
The writer portrays the racial and economic climate during this period in American history. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry can easily be used for studying social studies lessons on the Great Depression, segregation, slavery, and Reconstruction. I would recommend this book for children above 13 as there is an extremely inappropriate language used and also has some violence.
Book Review by: Alizay Ashraf