An unflinching account of the Tulsa Race Massacre seen through the eyes of a young Black girl.

LENA AND THE BURNING OF GREENWOOD

A TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVAL STORY

From the Girls Survive series

On Memorial Day 1921, 12-year-old Lena watches a gathering of clouds that portends a storm unlike any ever seen in Greenwood.

In this moving story told from Lena’s perspective, readers learn about the African American community of Greenwood, Oklahoma, or Black Wall Street as it came to be known. Lena lives in Greenwood with her mother, father, and 16-year-old sister, Cora. Her father often reminds her that “we have everything we need in Greenwood.” They have shops aplenty, libraries, schools, parks, and, most importantly, a sense of community. One day, Lena’s family hears whispers about Dick Rowland, a local Black man who was accused of assaulting a White woman. As racial tensions heighten, the residents of Greenwood fear White retribution for the alleged assault. The book moves quickly through the hours leading up to the massacre of over 300 Black people at the hands of White mobs and ends with Lena’s family and her community trying to piece together what little remains of their lives. This well-plotted fictionalized account of the Tulsa Race Massacre geared at young readers is emotionally challenging but necessary. Smith’s narrative deftly captures a child’s emotional and psychological experience of the tragedy as well as the tenderness shared among Lena and her family members. Jenai’s black-and-white digital illustrations, which appear every few pages, depict only Black characters and help readers imagine the historical setting. The thoughtful, informative backmatter will help adults lead discussions with children.

An unflinching account of the Tulsa Race Massacre seen through the eyes of a young Black girl. (author's note, discussion questions, glossary) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66632-944-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Stone Arch Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl...

GLORY BE

The closing of her favorite swimming pool opens 11-year-old Gloriana Hemphill’s eyes to the ugliness of racism in a small Mississippi town in 1964.

Glory can’t believe it… the Hanging Moss Community Pool is closing right before her July Fourth birthday. Not only that, she finds out the closure’s not for the claimed repairs needed, but so Negroes can’t swim there. Tensions have been building since “Freedom Workers” from the North started shaking up status quo, and Glory finds herself embroiled in it when her new, white friend from Ohio boldly drinks from the “Colored Only” fountain. The Hemphills’ African-American maid, Emma, a mother figure to Glory and her sister Jesslyn, tells her, “Don’t be worrying about what you can’t fix, Glory honey.” But Glory does, becoming an activist herself when she writes an indignant letter to the newspaper likening “hateful prejudice” to “dog doo” that makes her preacher papa proud. When she’s not saving the world, reading Nancy Drew or eating Dreamsicles, Glory shares the heartache of being the kid sister of a preoccupied teenager, friendship gone awry and the terrible cost of blabbing people’s secrets… mostly in a humorously sassy first-person voice.

Though occasionally heavy-handed, this debut offers a vivid glimpse of the 1960s South through the eyes of a spirited girl who takes a stand. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-33180-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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