Crow by Barbara Wright
Set in 1898 North Carolina, only a generation after slavery ended and before the Grandfather clause was created. In Wilmington N.C, 11 yr old Moses dad is an elected official and a proud Republican, supporting the party of the president that ended slavery. Moses looks up to his dad who works at the only Black newspaper. Moses is also very close this grandmother, Boo Nanny who never learned to read or write but she still as a lot to teach Moses. When Boo Nanny and the dad argue Moses has learned to stay out of it like his mom.
Wright did a great job with Moses voice as he discovers the world around him. Moses relationship with his his dad and grandmother have a nice bit of depth. The author paints a clear picture of South after the 13 Amendment was enacted during Reconstruction period. The chapters read like interconnected vignettes, with some of the threads continuing to the next chapter. One thing I would've liked some more closure with a few of the threads. For instance Moses always lets the best friend, Lewis decide what they are going to do. Soon the best friend is hanging out more with Johnny, a boy Moses doesn't get along with, neither of these story lines never feel completely finished. While they are not important to the overall outcome of the story I didn't like the feeling of both being left up in the air.
I really enjoyed the second half everything seems to come together. An election is coming up and the democrats are using the threat of violence to keep Black men from voting. Moses along with everyone else in this small town witness what can happen when anger, hate and fear take over.
This is a very good middle grade debut and I am looking forward to the debates that will come about, when award season makes its way around again in regards to its five starred reviews.
An excerpt via authors site
Crow would pair nicely with Finding Family by Tonya Bolden