Taylor, Mildred D. (1976). Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. New York: Dial Books. Print.
Set in the deep South, Taylor has created a loving, black family whose children seem to be unaware of the predejuces that hang in the air of their small town. Cassie Logan and her brothers live on land owned by their family. As the months pass by, the Logan children become more and more exposed to the racial hatred in the South. When local white men decide to call the loan early on the family property, the Logan family makes tough and potentially life threatening decisions to save their land, their family and their integrity.
What a treasure it is to read a strong piece of literature. Mildred Taylor writes with colors, texture, passion and conviction. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry brings the Logan family to life in the mind of the reader; writing a of a family that could live in your neighborhood today. The unfortunate injustices suffered by Cassie, Little Man, Stacey, Christopher-John, Mama, Papa, Uncle Hammer and their friends create disgust in the reader. However these themes of racial predejuce are still front page stories today. Cassie’s feelings of confusion and anger are felt by many still today. Standing the test of time, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry lives up to its title as a piece of classical literature.
Today, the fight for equal rights has broadened to include more than black Americans. Students these days are well-aware of the fight for gay marriage and the continual struggle for equal rights among all peoples no matter what race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and more. This novel takes a young adult back to a time before the phrase “equal rights” was common knowledge. Taylor brings to life a time in our history that sets a foundation upon which all modern equal rights struggles are built. It is imperative that a young adult read this novel in order to understand more fully how long this struggle has endured, how far we have come and how far we still have to go.
Activity Related to the Book:
Modern Day Predejuce:
After students read the book, create a web (using Inspiration or other Web 2.0 tools) showing all the main characters. Have students choose one word to describe each character’s reaction to the injustice in their life. Next, have students research modern day articles that report situations that evoke the same reactions as the book characters. Link these articles to each character on the web.
Resources Related to the THEME of the book:
Resource 1: http://www.ancestry.com
The importance of family is a major theme in this book. The Logan family is so intimately woven together that they often make major sacrifices for one another just as when Uncle Hammer sold his pristine car to pay off the note on the family land. This website is a great tool to track your family and their history. Learning more about where you came from helps one appreciate the family in your life today.
(2015). Genealogy, Family Trees and Family History Records. Retrieved from http://www.ancestry.com/
Resource 2: “Why We Do What We Do,” a TED talk by motivational speaker Tony Robbins
Many of the decisions that the Logan family and their friends make stem from an intense emotional experience. Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker, addresses what he calls the unseen force behind all human action, emotion.
Robbins, Tony (speaker). (2006). Why We Do What We Do. Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/tony_robbins_asks_why_we_do_what_we_do
Bird, Elizabeth. (2012). Top 100 Children’s Novels: #32 Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Retrieved from: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2012/05/31/top-100-childrens-novels-32-roll-of-thunder-hear-my-cry-by-mildred-taylor/#_