Crow
  • Crow
  • Crow

Crow

4.5 16
by Barbara Wright
     
 

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The summer of 1898 is filled with ups and downs for 11-year-old Moses. He's growing apart from his best friend, his superstitious Boo-Nanny butts heads constantly with his pragmatic, educated father, and his mother is reeling from the discovery of a family secret. Yet there are good times, too. He's teaching his grandmother how to read. For the first time she's

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Overview

The summer of 1898 is filled with ups and downs for 11-year-old Moses. He's growing apart from his best friend, his superstitious Boo-Nanny butts heads constantly with his pragmatic, educated father, and his mother is reeling from the discovery of a family secret. Yet there are good times, too. He's teaching his grandmother how to read. For the first time she's sharing stories about her life as a slave. And his father and his friends are finally getting the respect and positions of power they've earned in the Wilmington, North Carolina, community. But not everyone is happy with the political changes at play and some will do anything, including a violent plot against the government, to maintain the status quo.

One generation away from slavery, a thriving African American community—enfranchised and emancipated—suddenly and violently loses its freedom in turn of the century North Carolina when a group of local politicians stages the only successful coup d'etat in US history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adult author Wright, in her first book for children, presents a hard-hitting and highly personal view of the Wilmington race riots of 1898 through 11-year-old narrator Moses. Though the story initially meanders, the pace builds as Wright establishes the Wilmington, N.C., setting, with its large black middle class, and Moses’s family life, which is primarily influenced by his slave-born grandmother, “Boo Nanny,” and his Howard University–educated father, an alderman and a reporter at the Wilmington Daily Record, “the only Negro daily in the South.” Wright sketches a nuanced view of racial tension and inequality from Moses’s sheltered yet optimistic perspective, such as a bike shop’s slogan contest that is only open to white children, or the farmer who fires Moses after he helps another okra picker determine his true pay. A Daily Record editorial ignites racial backlash and catalyzes a series of attacks on hard-won rights, thrusting Moses and his father into the violence of the riots. This thought-provoking novel and its memorable cast offer an unflinching and fresh take on race relations, injustice, and a fascinating, little-known chapter of history. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 1, 2012:
“The expert blending of vivid historical details with the voice of a courageous, relatable hero makes this book shine.”

Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, January 1, 2012:
“Wright has taken a little-known event and brought it to vivid life, with a richly evoked setting of a town on the Cape Fear River, where a people not far from the days of slavery look forward to the promise of the twentieth century.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2011:
“This thought-provoking novel and its memorable cast offer an unflinching and fresh take on race relations, injustice, and a fascinating, little-known chapter of history.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011:
"Relying on historical records, Wright deftly combines real and fictional characters to produce an intimate story about the Wilmington riots to disenfranchise black citizens. An intensely moving, first-person narrative of a disturbing historical footnote told from the perspective of a very likable, credible young hero."

VOYA - Ursula Adams
Crow takes place in the post-Civil War southern community of Wilmington, North Carolina, about thirty years after slavery was abolished. This historical fiction, based loosely on factual material, chronicles the injustices faced by African Americans (then known as Negro or colored) during the years following slavery. It is told in first person by the protagonist, Moses Thomas. Throughout the book, Moses, who is coming-of-age, recognizes the prejudices that surround the people of his race. Many incidents surface in which Moses realizes that he and his family and other "coloreds" are not being treated the same as those who are white. Two other major characters in the book who influence Moses's thinking are his father and Boo Nanny, his grandmother. His father, an educated newspaper journalist, teaches Moses about the importance of education and to stand up for his beliefs in a racial world, while Boo Nanny, a former slave, reflects the impact slavery has had on her life. Riots, political corruptness, and racial territories between the black and white communities are all addressed in this story. The story is extremely well written and will transport the reader through Moses's eyes to this time of social unrest. This is an excellent story for young readers to sense the trials and injustices African Americans endured in the post-Civil War south. Reviewer: Ursula Adams
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
The somewhat sheltered, studious son of a Howard University graduate, twelve-year-old Moses has grown up as part of Wilmington's thriving African American community in the late 19th century. His father is a city alderman and a reporter/manager of the only Negro daily in the South; his mother is the daughter of a slave and works as a maid to a rich white woman. Racism is part of Moses' life but not a dominant concern; summer fun is what is on his mind. As the summer passes and elections loom, there is mounting tension in the city, primarily stemming from an inflammatory editorial run in his father's paper. Using Moses' friendships and activities to inform the reader of the social strata in both the white and black communities, Wright subtly lays the groundwork as hostilities increase and the naive Moses becomes more aware—and involved. He helps the editor escape town and races to his father's office to warn him of the oncoming white supremacist mob, which succeeds in burning down the newspaper's offices. Violence and political corruption overtake the city as Moses faces the harsh realities of his world. Wright adroitly creates her main characters, most especially Moses and his grandmother Boo Nanny, an uneducated, former slave, who tries to help Moses understand the world in which he lives. Blending real and fictional characters and telling the story through the eyes and feelings of young Moses works extremely well. The gripping tale, based on a little known uprising, provides readers with an emotional, yet realistic, look at life for Blacks at the time. Moses is a credibly drawn young man, forced to face disturbing injustices. This outstanding historical fiction novel will linger in readers' minds and should be read by literature circles or in social studies classes. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—In this moving, first-person narrative, Wright draws attention to the lesser-known historical events of the 1898 Wilmington, NC, race riots and coup d'etat where racist insurrectionists overthrew the local government and perpetrated widespread attacks on black citizens. She depicts the harrowing events leading up to the riots through the eyes of Moses Thomas, an 11-year-old African-American boy. On his last day of school, he narrowly avoids coming under the shadow of a buzzard, a harbinger of bad luck according to his grandmother, Boo Nanny. Indeed, the bird's ominous appearance foreshadows several racist acts against Moses as well as horrific tragedy for the Thomas family. Moses is a studious boy, and deeply inspired by his father, a Howard University graduate and reporter for the Wilmington Daily Record, the only black-owned newspaper in the South. However, Boo Nanny feels that her grandson is too focused on school to notice the effects of the pervasive racism surrounding him and tries to educate him on the harsh realities of life. The boy's education comes at a price when he risks his life to help the Daily Record's editor escape, and later when he's trapped in the newspaper's building during the insurrectionists' attempt to burn it down. Wright adroitly charts Moses's emotional growth from a self-involved boy into a poised, socially aware young man. The expert blending of vivid historical details with the voice of a courageous, relatable hero makes this book shine.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Growing up in Wilmington, N.C., in 1898, a naive black boy and his family are devastated by a racist uprising in this fictionalized account of a little-known historical event. On his last day of fifth grade, a buzzard portentously casts a shadow over Moses Thomas, prompting his grandma, Boo Nanny, to warn: "[Y]ou happiness done dead." Moses lives with Boo Nanny, a former slave who takes in white people's laundry, his Mama, a housemaid for wealthy whites, and his Daddy, a reporter and business manager of the Daily Record, "the only Negro daily in the South." Graduate of Howard University and an elected alderman, Daddy ardently believes in the power of education, and Moses tries to follow in his footsteps by reading library books, learning vocabulary words and maintaining perfect attendance at school. In contrast, Boo Nanny thinks her protected grandson "needs to learn by living." When a mob of white supremacists burns the newspaper office and arrests his father, Moses becomes dangerously involved and discovers what it means to be his father's son. Relying on historical records, Wright deftly combines real and fictional characters to produce an intimate story about the Wilmington riots to disenfranchise black citizens. An intensely moving, first-person narrative of a disturbing historical footnote told from the perspective of a very likable, credible young hero. (historical note) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375873676
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/12/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
251,125
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 1, 2012:
“The expert blending of vivid historical details with the voice of a courageous, relatable hero makes this book shine.”

Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, January 1, 2012:
“Wright has taken a little-known event and brought it to vivid life, with a richly evoked setting of a town on the Cape Fear River, where a people not far from the days of slavery look forward to the promise of the twentieth century.”

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2011:
“This thought-provoking novel and its memorable cast offer an unflinching and fresh take on race relations, injustice, and a fascinating, little-known chapter of history.”

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011:
"Relying on historical records, Wright deftly combines real and fictional characters to produce an intimate story about the Wilmington riots to disenfranchise black citizens. An intensely moving, first-person narrative of a disturbing historical footnote told from the perspective of a very likable, credible young hero."

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