Children's Literature - Ellen R. BraafMildred Taylor is recognized as one of the outstanding writers for young adults. In 1977, her novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, captured the American Library Association's prestigious award, the Newbery Medal. Set in rural Mississippi in the 1930s, nine-year-old Cassie Logan narrates the ongoing saga of her family's struggle to survive and hold on to their land in a racist and violent society. Born in a segregated America that considered her inferior because of the color of her skin, many of Taylor's stories are drawn from personal experience and family history. Because Chris Crow had Taylor's cooperation, the reader is afforded a rare glimpse into her personal life as well as her writing process. Excerpts from Taylor's articles and speeches enable the reader to hear her voice. Part biography, part history and part literary analysis, this book explores the body of Taylor's work in the context of her life and times. One of Twayne's "Young Adult Author" series, this volume is a valuable reference and an intimate look at the work of a gifted author.
VOYAThis addition to the wellknown Young Adult Authors series highlights a writer who has shared her gift of storytelling with generations of readers through eight books about the Logan family, including her Newbery masterpiece, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Dial, 1976). Crowe follows the standard series format of biographical material followed by detailed critical analysis and interpretation of the author's works. Background information on the history of slavery, racism, and the civil rights movementtopics significant to Taylor's novelsalso is included. One chapter highlights the story lines of Taylor's books, another looks at her two main themesfamily and landand the final chapter covers the reality of racism tempered with hope. Throughout the book, Crowe intertwines Taylor's personal story and her family's history with stories of the Logans, creating a circle that cannot be broken. Several family photographs are included, but readers looking for a current picture of Taylor will have to be satisfied with one that is twentythree years old. Over the years, this very private author has been highly selective in terms of information regarding her personal life, including that shared here. Her biographical sketch ends with her acceptance of her Newbery award. It must be noted that the writing style of the first chapter is weaker than those that follow. It is peppered with noticeable errors in writing mechanics and repetitive information that become distractions. Despite those early flaws, the book is a strong, wellresearched professional resource that draws together a wealth of literary criticism about Taylor's body of work. Index. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes. Chronology. Appendix.1999,Twayne, Ages 12 to Adult, 162p, $32. Reviewer: Mary Ann Capan
BooknewsTaylor has been well known since 1977 for her novels for young adults, the eight-volume saga of the Logan family, portraying their struggle to maintain dignity and self-respect in the face of overwhelming racism in rural Mississippi in the 1930s. Crowe (English, Brigham Young U.) has gotten her rare cooperation to provide biographical and family background for her fiction. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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