Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, The Great Migration North, Chicago, Illinois, 1919 (Dear America Series)

Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, The Great Migration North, Chicago, Illinois, 1919 (Dear America Series)

by Patricia C. McKissack, Patricia C. McKissack, Pat McKissack
     
 

From Scholastic's best selling, award-winning book series comes a collection of home videos inspired by the diaries or real girls.

Nellie Lee Love moves north with her fmaily to Chicago -- the land of opportunity -- hoping to escape the racism of the rural south. Mamma believes a new start will help Nellie Lee's sister Erma Jean, who stopped speaking after a

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Overview

From Scholastic's best selling, award-winning book series comes a collection of home videos inspired by the diaries or real girls.

Nellie Lee Love moves north with her fmaily to Chicago -- the land of opportunity -- hoping to escape the racism of the rural south. Mamma believes a new start will help Nellie Lee's sister Erma Jean, who stopped speaking after a mysterious but horrifying event only she witnessed. Though life in this northern city, is exciting, Nellie Lee sees that racism knows no boundaries. When a group of boys threaten Nellie Lee, Erma Jean finds her voice just in time to fend them off. Through the love of their family, both sisters learn that they possess the strenght to triumph.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
This is the diary of Nellie Lee Love as she lived each day beginning on January 1, 1919. Nellie and her sister, Erma Jean, receive their diaries for Christmas. Nellie's diary chronicles the trials and tribulations of her family's life in Bradford Corners, Tennessee and later life in Chicago, Illinois. Traumatized by the death of her uncle, Erma Jean ceases to speak. All her communication with Nellie is through her diary that exposes the racial injustices in Tennessee and the family system within the Colored section. When word comes that there are opportunities in Chicago, the Love family moves. Thoughts of Tennessee haunt the girls as they slowly adjust to life in the big city. During the Chicago riots Erma Jean is again traumatized, but this time she regains her voice. McKissack has the family involved in the NAACP, suffrage and anti-lynching meetings and the Open Mind Church and Youth Center and through them relates plenty about life as it was in Chicago in the early 1900s. There are historical notes and photographs in this entry in the "Dear America" series. 2000, Scholastic Inc., Ages 10 to 14, $10.95. Reviewer: Karen Werner
VOYA
On Christmas Day in 1915, Nellie Lee Love and her sister Erma Jean are given diaries by their mother. Nellie puts hers away until she begins with New Year's Day, 1919, recording her thoughts and the events involving her family and friends during a year of change. The Great War is over, but a different war is brewing in the United States. As black soldiers return from battle overseas, they are faced with discrimination and the fear of lynching in their hometowns. The violence of racism hits home for the Love family, becoming too brutal to ignore. Nellie's father moves his family from rural Tennessee to Chicago in search of opportunity. Although life is better in Chicago in some ways—the Loves no longer have to hide their NAACP membership or their reading of the works of W. E. B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey—it is also difficult. Mr. Love's application for a business loan is rejected several times, and the family experiences riots and endures prejudice within their own race. Through courage, perseverance, and family unity, however, the Loves eventually find hope and triumph and become comfortable in their new community. The diary format of the Dear America series makes for readable historical fiction that will appeal to history students and reluctant readers alike. Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winner McKissack has written a story about a family whose strength and solidarity will touch readers, regardless of their cultural or ethnic backgrounds. The author's notes and illustrations additionally serve as an excellent introduction not only to the civil rights movement but also to the lives and works of prominent African Americans. This is the author's second book in theseries, following A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl (Scholastic, 1997). Illus. Biblio. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, Scholastic, 222p, $10.95. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Elizabeth Wetherson

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

ALAN Review
Issues of race, class, and prejudice on both a personal and institutional level are explored through the journal entries of a young African-American girl, eleven-year-old Nellie Lee Love, in this newest addition to the ever popular "Dear America" series. The novel begins in 1919 in a small Tennessee town where the Loves have lived for several generations. After Nellie's uncle dies, the Loves move to Chicago; there, Nellie begins to see the world through a new set of eyes. Up North, Nellie learns that life is much different in the big city. In addition to the hustle and bustle of Chicago, Nellie witnesses race riots and expressions of intolerance within her own African-American community. Saddened, Nellie longs to return to her native South, until she remembers that life down home is filled with the same kind of hate--except that lynchings are the order of the day. Complete with a rich resource of historical data about life for African-Americans in the early twentieth century, this novel shows that "hurt and hate" exist no matter where one lives. Genre: Historical Fiction/Race. 2000, Scholastic, Ages 9 to 12, $10.95. Reviewer: Michele L. Gable
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Although 11-year-old Nellie Lee takes after her Mama's folks and "could pass," she proudly says "color me dark." Through the child's diary entries, McKissack explores the racism that existed in post World War I Tennessee, where a lighter skin was considered "better" than a darker one. In fact, a major story line involves Nellie Lee's sister, Erma Jean, as she learns to treasure her darker color. When Uncle Pace, returning from the war, is found badly injured, the family suspects the worst but can't prove it, and Erma Jean suffers hysterical muteness. His death propels Nellie Lee's father to join the Great Migration north to Chicago in search of a better life. The family discovers that although they do not face the Klan there, racism still exists, even within the black community. McKissack deftly explores the social unrest between blacks and whites and the social stratification within the black community, where newly arrived southern blacks were looked down upon by the more affluent residents. The time period is well developed, and serves as a compelling backdrop to the Love family's struggle to find a place. Nellie is a feisty and loyal protagonist, and although her voice sounds a bit mature for an 11-year-old, her observations carry the story line and interpret the action in a believable way. Secondary characters are distinct and add a richness to the telling.-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780590511599
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2000
Series:
Dear America Series
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.61(w) x 7.77(h) x 0.79(d)
Lexile:
680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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