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A Tugging String: A Novel About Growing Up During the Civil Rights Era
     

A Tugging String: A Novel About Growing Up During the Civil Rights Era

by David Greenberg
 

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Duvy Greenberg is an ordinary twelve-year-old trying to fit in. He knows that his father, Jack, is a civil rights lawyer, but Duvy lives worlds away from Dorothy Milton, a black woman struggling to become a registered voter in Selma, Alabama. When Dorothy reaches out to Martin Luther King Jr. for help, she sets in motion a series of events that—with Jack

Overview

Duvy Greenberg is an ordinary twelve-year-old trying to fit in. He knows that his father, Jack, is a civil rights lawyer, but Duvy lives worlds away from Dorothy Milton, a black woman struggling to become a registered voter in Selma, Alabama. When Dorothy reaches out to Martin Luther King Jr. for help, she sets in motion a series of events that—with Jack Greenberg’s help—will open Duvy’s eyes to the reality of racial inequality and forever change the course of history. Blending facts, speeches, memories, and conjecture, this novel portrays the emotions and events surrounding the Selma-Montgomery Voting Rights March.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

A fascinating look at the Civil Rights Movement, specifically the campaign to gain the vote for blacks in Selma, AL. The author, son of Jack Greenberg, a civil rights lawyer and director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund during the 1960s, provides a unique perspective on this time, wrapping actual events within a fictional story line. It centers around David's boyhood in Great Neck, NY, as he grows in understanding of the often-dangerous work his father does. Alternating chapters focus on Jack Greenberg's efforts in the South, the courageous individuals with whom he comes into contact (ranging from regular people to leaders such as Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King, Jr.), and the threats they all face daily. This book is at once homage of a son to his father and an exploration of a crucial moment in American history. Dad is lovingly portrayed, as is the rest of the Greenberg family. The narrative beautifully melds historical fact with imagined situations and characters (footnotes and a postscript clearly delineate between real and fictionalized events). Although didactic at times, it is clearly written and sincere, and it should prove appealing to those readers who absorb historical fact better through historical fiction.-Carol Jones Collins, Hanover Park High School, East Hanover, NJ

Kirkus Reviews

Although it's squarely focused on the events that culminate in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., this novel isn't quite so sure of its genre. Moving abruptly from memoir to history to fiction, it never finds its fit. Greenberg, the son of influential civil-rights lawyer Jack Greenberg, attempts to show how the events of the 1960s both destabilized his family and changed the nation. His highly fictionalized account explores both his own family's travails and those of the Miltons, a fictional African-American couple whose experiences are meant to be emblematic of life under Jim Crow. The book succeeds when it shares intimate family moments, but too often it resorts to long passages of expository dialogue and fiddles with the facts to make the plot work. A concluding note attempts to separate fact from fiction and in so doing makes readers wonder why the author didn't simply tell his family's story and let such works as Diane McWhorter's A Dream of Freedom (2004) tell others. (afterword, footnotes) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525479673
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/16/2008
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
717,415
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 2.70(d)
Lexile:
930L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

David T. Greenberg is the author of Slugs and many other books for children. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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