A Thousand Never Evers

A Thousand Never Evers

by Shana Burg


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A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg

IN KUCKACHOO, MISSISSIPPI, 1963, Addie Ann Pickett worships her brother Elias and follows in his footsteps by attending the black junior high school. But when her careless act leads to her brother’s disappearance and possible murder, Addie Ann, Mama, and Uncle Bump struggle with not knowing if he’s dead or alive. Then a good deed meant to unite Kuckachoo sets off a chain of explosive events. Addie Ann knows Old Man Adams left his land to the white and black people to plant a garden and reap its bounty together, but the mayor denies it. On garden picking day, Addie Ann’s family is sorely tested. Through tragedy, she finds the voice to lead a civil rights march all her own, and maybe change the future for her people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440422099
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 12/22/2009
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 779,137
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Shana Burg is an educator, journalist, and public speaker who continues to work toward the promise of social justice. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

June 12, 1963
Now get this: there's a boy in Jackson so rich that when he finished high school, his daddy bought him a brand-new car. At least that's what I heard. In my family, we don't have that kind of money, but my uncle gives a whole dollar to any Pickett who graduates Acorn Elementary School. It's tradition.
So here I am, soaring through the sky on my swing that hangs from the oak tree, when Uncle Bump calls out the door of his shed, "Go on. Get your brother. He'll take you." He stretches a dollar bill between both hands and I jump right off. Sure it's not enough for a car, but that dollar can buy a whole lot of good, like twenty Hershey bars. After my brother graduated elementary school, he bought a baseball. But I'm not going to waste my dollar on something dumb. I want something important, like dye to turn my flour-colored dress new for the first day of school.
"Mama will be proud you're spending your dollar to make a bright impression at County Colored," Uncle Bump tells me.
"It's West Thunder Creek Junior High School," I tell him, and stuff the dollar into my sock. Sure I'm going to the Negro junior high school, but a school's a school. Folks should call it by its proper name and make it sound important.
"Don't dillydally, Addie Ann," Uncle Bump says. He pulls the harmonica out of his pocket and blows a chord. And it's real good to hear him sound those notes, because ever since our boss, Old Man Adams, got the whooping cough, Uncle Bump hasn't had time to play music. "Mama's bringing home some hen tonight," he says. Then he sinks down on the steps of his shed and slides that harmonica across his lips.
I'm heading across the tracks to the white side and I reckon some furry company won't hurt. My cat, Flapjack, and me have a secret code. When I whistle and click my tongue twice, he comes running. Tweet, click, click. Tweet, click, click. Other folk think it's magic, but here he comes, dashing across the pine needles, purring as he threads a figure eight round my ankles.
When we pass Brother Babcock's chicken shack, my stomach growls. And when we get to Daisy's Dry Goods, I kick up the dirt on the path, because I've been itching to buy a real new dress in there, but right about now, we don't have the money.
As always, once we cross the railroad tracks everything seems whiter and brighter, and I don't mean just the people who live here. The fresh-painted shingles and the white picket fences gleam in the late-afternoon sun. Even Flapjack's tan fur lights up a fiery orange. And my feet are glad to walk on pavement.
By the time we get to the edge of Mr. Mudge's place, the sun's diving into the horizon. Flapjack and me pass by Mr. Mudge's greenhouse and his stable full of cows and pigs, on the way to his farm where my brother works. "Now don't squish the squash," I tell Flapjack before we head across the leafy rows to meet Elias, who's bent like a rainbow over the tomatoes. He's been working this land since he was five.
"Uncle Bump says you've gotta take me to get the dye," I say, and hold up the dollar to prove it's true. But Elias stares straight past me like I'm not even here. Mama always says he's "half legs, half smile," but today his grin is gone. His eyes are sad and distant.
"What's a matter?" I ask. He's probably worried up about getting into college, so I tell him, "I bet you'll even get a scholarship to Morehouse. Then I'll come to Georgia and visit you and we'll—"
"Shut up," he says.
Usually Elias doesn't live on the edge of his mind like me, so right about now I don't know what to think.
"Don't you know 'bout Medgar?" he asks.
"What's that?"
"Medgar Evers got shot. Down in Jackson. Late last night. Someone killed . . ." His voice stretches and tightens. Then he swipes the side of his hand under his nose. That's what he does when he gets close to tears. Usually it stops them from sliding down.
Here one guy I never heard of gets shot dead, and now my brother's all ripped up and I'm just about crazy. "He a friend?" I ask.
"He owe you money?"
"No!" Elias rolls his eyes.
"Well, if he ain't a friend and he don't owe you money, what's a matter?"
"Don't you know anything?" he asks.
I turn away. Elias knows I know something. Otherwise, why did I get the highest score on the geography quiz in the whole sixth grade? Okay, sure there are only four kids in the sixth grade at the Negro elementary school, but still, a ninety-six is a ninety-six. I want to remind Elias of this but my throat squeezes shut. I swipe my hand under my nose but my tears get out anyway.
My brother puts his hands on my shoulders, tries to turn me round. "Sorry," he says. "Sometimes I forget you're a little kid."
"Seventh grade's not little," I tell him. Then I blink a lot to get the tears to stay inside. "Now come on. Tell me! Who's this Edgar Mevers?"
"His name is Medgar Evers," Elias says. "He's from the movement."
I nod so my brother will think I know what he's talking about. But I wonder why he can't answer my questions plain and simple. If he's so smart, why doesn't he tell me this: Why do they call it the movement? How can he swipe under his nose and stop crying? And why did Medgar Evers's mama give him such a silly name?
"Well, someone killed him," Elias says, and looks away again. "Left three young children without a daddy."
I reckon Elias probably knows how those poor children feel.

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A Thousand Never Evers 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I heard it as a book on CD and it kept me company over the course of a week of driving. I could not wait to get back in the car to hear the next chapter. The book is beautifully written, suspenseful, truthful and deep. Burg has gotten into the heart of Addie Ann Pickett and then Addie Ann jumps right into YOUR heart. You build a relationship with Addie Ann as she faces the indiginities and injustices of being a young black woman in Mississippi at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. Her griefs and her bravery, her developing wisdom and power all give respect and tribute to a young person in a way not often seen in literature for young adults. Young people will love the book because it affirms the intelligence and courage of a young person having to face the unfaceable. But Addie Ann does it with humor and a zest for life which keeps the reader enthralled. Adults will also delight in this book. With embodied language bringing you RIGHT THERE, a lyrical style and great feeling, it has a moving and exciting story line,is true to history and well researched - but most of all -it's a GREAT READ.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 23 and read this book along with my 11 year old little sisters. I absolutely loved the book, and here is what my little sister had to say: I liked the book a whole lot and can't wait for the next one. And it was cool being set during the Civil Rights Act. I just love your book. I like it in every way. I enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to reading another one. I could read this book every day for the rest of my life. 'A Thousand Never Evers' is a great book for young adults, as well as adults of all ages. This book was historically accurate, spiritually uplifting and beautifully written. I found myself running through a gauntlet of emotions- I laughed, teared up and felt Addie Ann's struggles and success.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Get a free ipod by kissing your hand three times then post then on three differnt books. Than look under your pillow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...............finsh the sentence
GeeGee0715 More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for a class and planned to give it to my granddaughter after reading it. I loved the book so much, I decided to keep it. I told her she could borrow it anytime. This book is perfect for young teens and adults. So vivid, it's like you're standing right next to the characters. I remember so many similar stories as those in the book, growing up in my own family. You will not be disappointed with this purchase.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thr book is not fast paced, but it is very good and really shows you what african anericans were treated like back then.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Runs in thro the door uug again realy bad badger go back to your tribe and stay thr untill i get thr now. Thn he walk up to the fallen cat picks him/her and thm to a near by river. Thn he lays the body diwn in the river to let it begin itd long jorny to a new beguning. U lived well my friend i will meet u in starclan very very soon. After he walks over ti the vaders tribe to talk with clef the murderus badger
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very sad about how whites used to treat blacks, but it is very very desribtive. And I recommend it to all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great one. I had it for a book club and when I heard that it was about civil rights I wasn't too excited. Let me tell you I wasn't right. As soon as I started I couldn't stop. A Thousand Never Evers is an amazing Book. A great book to read in February. An enchanting book
Jerry Smith More than 1 year ago
this book is suspenceful,agonizing, and will keep you up all night. it is about a girl and the sacrafices she has to make to find her brother.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A Thousand Never Evers is an inspirational and beautifully written story about a young girl's changing perspective as she lives through the oppression of segregation and racism so pervasive in the South in 1963. This story not only depicts the injustice that Addie Ann and her family faced, but it also gives hope and inspiration as it describes the bravery and strength of individuals to change the world during the Civil Rights Movement. This book is truly important with wonderfully developed characters and a compelling story line. It provides tremendous historic insight and reminds readers why it is so very important to stand up for what is right.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haha jk just rping...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago