Lester, Julius. Day of tears.
From the review of the book in KLIATT, May 2005: "[In 1859] it rained for two days, merging God's tears with those of over 400 slaves auctioned in Georgia, separated from loved ones forever. In 13 chapters and 14 interludes, Lester shares their stories, beginning with Emma, the central character, who is sold unexpectedly, though she later escapes and eventually finds freedom in Canada. Other characters reveal how the auction changed their lives as well ... Emma shares the story of the day of tears with her granddaughter, who is doing a report on American slavery. She emphasizes the goodness of white abolitionists and others like her slave owner's daughter, for whom her own daughter was named ... The familiar types are all present: the loyal slave, the benevolent master/mistress, the devoted mammy figure, and the subversive slave. Yet, this book does what history texts are not designed to do: it humanizes the people involved as a Georgia plantation owner made history, having orchestrated the largest slave auction to ever take place. The final note from the author is especially important as it shares bibliographical sources used to create this novel ... Many of the characters are based on real people and both the plot and subplots are influenced by real events that will capture the attention of young readers."
This tremendously affecting novel will never by forgotten by anyone who hears it. A group of narrators tell the story, both at the time and as a remembrance, in the voice of the master, his family, slaves who were sold and those who were not, and the slave auctioneer. Each of the narrators captures the emotions and inner feelings of their characters. Dialects are beautifully crafted and always fit the character, never going over the top either in regional accents or in emotional shadings. Although some of Lester's portraits may be brief, even in these he manages to capture that person's feelings about the situation.
Given the intense subject matter, parents and teachers will want to discuss the practices of slavery with their children, but this should not discourage adults from exposing middle school students to this book. It clearly sets forth what slavery meant to the people held captive. Melody Moxley, Admin. Svcs. Mgr., Rowan PL, Salisbury, NC
J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
S--Recommended for senior high school students.
A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.
*--The asterisk highlights exceptional books.
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|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2006|
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