Children's Literature Reviews for Teaching History

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Have you used one of these books with students? Leave a comment after the rating about your own experience.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Revisited)

Title: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry*
Author: Mildred D. Taylor
Category: Historical Fiction 
*A previous review of this book can be found here.  I love the idea of having several reviews for each book.  The more opinions the better.

Topic: Jim Crow Era
Grade Level: 6-8
Students: A balanced mix of strong readers and struggling or reluctant readers
Rating by: Marquita Hockaday from Virginia
Besides being a teacher, Marquita is also a great writer of historical fiction.  You can find out more about her work at her fun blog for YA writers: Y(A) Cuz We Write!

Historically Accurate?
(4) Yes and also includes historical notes, primary sources, etc.
(3) Yes
(2) A few inaccurate or misleading portrayals
(1) Not a bit

(4) Everyone - even the most reluctant readers – can get on board
(3) Can be used for a whole class read
(2) Can only be used with a small high-powered reading group
(1) Recommend only to students that love reading

An Engaging Story?
(4) Almost all students will beg to keep reading
(3) Most students will get caught up in the story
(2) Some students will read ahead by mistake
(1) Students will groan when the book is mentioned

Prompts Discussion?
(4) Students will still be talking about it in the hallway
(3) Will prompt discussion about major issues in the past as well as today
(2) Will prompt discussion about the characters and the events in the book
(1) Will not prompt discussion

A Comment from Marquita Hockaday:
I used this book when I taught English and History as a cross-curricular activity. It went well and most students enjoyed the novel as well as the activities that went along with it. This novel is great when discussing race relations in the years leading toward the second World War.

Amazon's Product Description 
"'We have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are or whether we're rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we're here'. The Mississippi of the 1930s was a hard place for a black child to grow up in, but still Cassie didn't understand why farming his own land meant so much to her father. During that year, though, when the night riders were carrying hatred and destruction among her people, she learned about the great differences that divided them, and when it was worth fighting for a principle even if it brought terrible hardships."

Link to Reviews on Amazon
Buy this book from your local bookstore via Indie Bound


  1. I am also a big fan of historical fiction. I teach grades 5. We are reading Uprising by Haddix. Have you read it?Christine

  2. I haven't read Uprising yet, but I loved Haddix's book Found, and the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire could be such a powerful topic. I'd love to know how it goes in your class! If you get a minute some time, maybe you could submit a rating of it to be posted on this blog - just click the link at the top of the website on the left.