A sequel to the universally acclaimed Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, continuing in the story of the Logan family in Mississippi during the Depression. The children, especially Cassie, are happy in their warm, stable family but outside is a climate of fear and tension. Their friend T.J. goes on trial for murder and stands before an all-white jury. Cousin Suzella tries to pass for white, with humiliating consequences. And when Cassie's neighbour stands up for her right to vote she and her cousin are driven from their home. Cassie is realising what it means to grow up black and powerless, but her family stand together, proving that courage, love and understanding can defy even the deepest prejudices.
Mildred DeLois Taylor is an African-American writer known for her works exploring the struggle faced by African-American families in the Deep South.
Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, but lived there only a short amount of time, then moved to Toledo, Ohio, where she spent most of her childhood. She now lives in Colorado with her daughter.
Many of her works are based on stories of her family that she heard while growing up. She has stated that these anecdotes became very clear in her mind, and in fact, once she realized that adults talked about the past, "I began to visualize all the family who had once known the land, and I felt as if I knew them, too ..." Taylor has talked about how much history was in the stories; some stories took place during times of slavery and some post-slavery.
Taylor's most famous book is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. In 1977, the book won the Newbery Medal. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the middle book, chronologically, in the Logans series that also includes titles such as The Land, Song of the Trees, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, and The Road to Memphis. Her collective contributions to children's literature resulted in her being awarded the inaugural NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature in 2003.
I read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry when I was in 6th grade and I loved it so much that I begged my mother to buy me the whole series. She of course did and I devoured them. I recently found Let the Circle Be Unbroken and Road to Memphis in the my parents basement. I don't know where Roll of Thunder is but I might just buy it again.
I don't have enough words to describe how truly amazing this whole series is. Mildred D. Taylor wrote a powerful, intense, unforgettable, and courageous novel. Don't let the fact that its a Middle Grade book stop you from reading this because it is a book for all ages. This series doesn't sugar coat or dumb down the awful affects of systematic racism.
Our whole family fell in love with this story, and the audiobook reader we listened to was practically perfect. I don't mind saying that I wanted my kids to be acquainted with America's racial injustices with all the heaviness they could take and no more. Narrative was the perfect tool. They loved the Logans. They asked a lot of questions, and concluded mainly that the racist whites of the story (not all whites in the story are racist) were "stupid dummies."
I tried to talk about the good and the bad of America, the bad so that this George Floyd moment isn't wasted; the good so that their little hearts have some appropriate pride in and gratitude for their nation. I loved how Mildred Taylor, it seemed to me, did the same. Ms. Lee-Annie may have known she'd be turned away from voting, but her year spent learning more about the Constitution than I know today was a vote *for* the system and not against it, for the system to live up to its Christian promise that all men are created—created!—equal. She didn't cynically ditch the system. She made an effort toward reform. So did a certain few white characters. I feel, from reading I've done, that Taylor told an honest story. She told the good with the bad. Not all black characters come off shining; they're *real.* That makes those characters more persuasive as pictures of reality. Not all white characters come off as blindly racist, though plenty do. If I had ever wondered if such pictures were caricatures, reading Taylor Branch's Pillar of Fire showed me they were absolutely not. If anything, Taylor was kinder to her white characters than she had to be.
This book is very long. It deals with heavy subjects: sex and violence and racism and the travails of a mixed-race girl. My wife and I looked at one another several times with raised eyebrows. But I let it continue to play. Christian authors I respect have told me that kids need to know about some of the dangers and sins of the world, and Taylor used appropriate circumlocutions for the most delicate matters. Even my five-year-old listened, rapt.
So many questions about race divide Americans. But I think we can start in some places of agreement, and one of these is huge and not to be discounted: the system of racial segregation in the American South was a great evil. I'll add that it was evil not because society's morals have changed (though praise God they have), nor because it harmed economic utility (though it did), nor ultimately because it twisted the moral character of whites (Frederick Douglass says charitably: "The slaveholder, as well as the slave, is the victim of the slave system. A man's character greatly takes its hue and shape from the form and color of things about him. Under the whole heavens there is no relation more unfavorable to the development of honorable character, than that sustained by the slaveholder to the slave.). Racial segregation and Jim Crow laws were great evils because they told a lie about human unity in God's image, human unity in our fallenness, and the human unity that Christ can and does bring. Racism is a sin against Christian, biblical ideals.
I could think of no better way to teach this lesson to my own children—who will face temptations to violate it in ways I don't yet see—than to get them to feel the injustice of white men making a black man undress on the road, or of lying about the intentions of an elderly black woman. These are stories I don't think they'll forget. I know I won't.
This one was less focused than the previous books in this series and had a slower pace, so it took me awhile to get through. It didn't help that I've had less time to read lately either. So a book I figured would take me four or five days to read ended up taking me eight days.
The title refers to family, which is important in this series, as it's based on Taylor's own family history and stories that have been passed down generation after generation. But given everything that happens in this one, I couldn't help but think that some circles need to be broken, especially in regards to Jim Crow, that was alive and strong during this time. There was even a promise of a possibility that maybe the first step in breaking that cycle could transpire in this book with the talk of unionizing farmers and sharecroppers. Turns out, FDR's New Deal action to "support" farmers was a giant failure, unless you were a rich, white farmer. Surprising, I know. *sigh* It really was a messed up situation, and this is just one example of how FDR's policies screwed over the little people.
And sadly, this is the second book in a row that has a storyline that could just as easily be based on current events as those that transpired in the South in the 1930s with the subplot of how black Americans - while technically having the right to vote - were discouraged from even registering much less showing up to the polls. For those who want to delude themselves into believing we've gotten better over the last 90 years, take a look at all the voter suppression laws that have been passed in the last year. We're regressing and it's depressing. It's even worse in a sense because while the people of the 1930s had no problems admitting to their white supremacist attitudes, people today will go out of their way to explain how they don't see color, how the laws are fair and just, and how it has nothing to do with race or class, and all this racism talk is overblown, you know? (Not to mention the ongoing subplots of how blacks were unjustly prosecuted by the law, on the rare occasion the law stepped in to prosecute and didn't just let the whites lynch the blacks to their hearts' content. Although nowadays they at least have think up a plausible "I feared for my life even though I was the one who caused the situation in the first place" defense to get off charges. 😡)
These are the books our kids need to be reading, but sadly they're banned in a lot of places, ironically for their depiction of racism and use of racial slurs. 🙄 Clearly, the plot has been missed.
Are things better? Yes. Can they improve more? Hell, yes! Let's do better, y'all!
"Mama, if you looked white, would you pass?" Mama puckered her lips, thinking; finally she shook her head. "No, my sweet child, I wouldn't. I love the people in this black world I'm in too much." She waited a moment. "What about you?" "I thought on it. "No, Ma'am, i don't 'spect so. But I tell ya one thing. Them white folks give us the same things they got, seem to me folks wouldn't even hafta be wondering 'bout passing at all." (PGS. 263-264)
It's so weird to have the sequel of a book be as good as the first one. I enjoyed this Depression-era book set in Mississippi on the Logan family. They are one of the few "coloreds" to own their own land thanks to the grandfather. They are luckier than most of the pickers living on white land and they know it. Seeing the world around them the kids learn fast what NOT to do or how to react to situations.
I loved learning about this family. Taylor made them real people for me. I cheered for them and hoped the best for their situations. This book is racial, black versus white, but there are good people here too. People conflicted with the laws and strange rules but must follow in order not to be murdered.
I like how the author never had the characters have self pity. She made them have pride and self-respect. They just made their lives better and took care of one another in order to survive the greed and hate of the outside world. They could have blamed everyone and not done anything for themselves but I am happy to read about strength and honor.
She is such a fantastic writer. It is a YA but a great historical fiction for kids and adults alike.
***NOTE: As part of our 2020 reading challenges, my mom and I are revisiting the old works of her favorite YA author, Mildred D. Taylor, and will soon get to read All the Days Past, All the Days to Come for the very first time.***
So right before the book begins, there's a foreword from an acceptance speech Mildred Taylor gave in the seventies, discussing how her hope for this novel is that her readers come to see the sacrifices and injustices of Cassie’s generation (which is also her father’s generation).
In Let the Circle Be Unbroken, those sacrifices and injustices come into stark relief. These moments with the Logans and their neighbors are so moving because you see the incredible courage of these people, but still have a gut-sinking sense of the troubles yet to come for them. TJ's trial is a devastating spectacle, where Wade Jamison is meticulous in his defense approach, and still with every brilliantly argued point, you still get the premonition that none of it will matter. This is, of course, Mildred Taylor's great gift—she shows that while the costly efforts to get a black child a fair trial in 1930s Mississippi may not change his fate, they surely make a difference.
These efforts make a slight, nearly imperceptible shift in the mind of a boy like Jeremy Simms, who frequently comes to the defense of individuals his family has taught him to hate. These efforts ignite a growing desire to understand the inner workings of Mississippi law in old (Ms. Lee Annie) and young (Cassie) women alike, leading to ambitious voter registration attempts and the burgeoning of a potential legal career. And, they offer this skeptical community a courtroom model of the new century's growing possibilities for multiracial organizing against a greater danger (this model is later put to the test by a brave group of union members.)
It is these moments—where Ms. Taylor underscores these tragedies with a patient, cyclical eye towards the promise of the future—that are so essential to our people's experiences in this country, and so monumental for the literature that seeks to honor them.
When I heard there was going to be another extra credit, to read “Let the Circle Be Unbroken,” I immediately pounced on it. The setting of the book takes place during the Great Depression. The protagonist, Cassie Logan, the daughter of a sharecropping family, is suffering economically and are facing many family issues.Cassie’s friend T.J. Avery is unjustly sentenced to death for attacking a white shopkeeper, her family is scared of losing their land, and certain union groups who are fighting for sharecropping rights are facing threats such as the Logan family. In addition, everyone in the family must make sacrifices either they all be together or separate, hence the title, “Let the Circle Be Unbroken.” In the end, the Logan’s learn that being a united and happy family counts more than letting their financial problems become a barrier. My favorite quote was, “‘Yes, sir,’ Stacey said, limping to meet them. ‘I done come home… and it’s the very best place to be.’ I agreed.” This quote was my favorite because it’s just like the old quote says, “There’s no place like home.” Mildred D. Taylor’s writing style is mostly written using western dialogue and puts a human element point of view to the Great Depression and the racial problems of the time. I would recommend this book to historical fiction audiences because it would give those readers a deeper understanding of their interests.
Oh this book! I was skeptical during the first 50 pages or so that we would enjoy this book as much as Roll of Thunder, but we found ourselves even more invested in the Logan family.
This books is really long, nearly 400 pages, which made it quite a time commitment as a read aloud, but I’m so glad we have this wonderful book. Set in the 1930s in Mississippi, this book handles topics of race, white supremacy, sharecropping, unions, unfair business practices, voter suppression, unfair trials, etc all in a way that feels effortless. These are hard and heavy topics, but they are so important to understand the generational hurt that continues to impact the US.
I read the final 50 pages aloud in one sitting because we had to know what was going to happened. They brought me to tears at one point, so emotional and real. We have loved this series and plan to continue as read alouds.
Cassie and her brothers continue to grow up and learn about life's challenges. Their friend TJ is is unjustly tried by an all-white jury which brings a lot of heartache. Suzella, a cousin from New York, stays with the Logans for awhile. She is both pretty and popular and Cassie struggles with jealousy. Suzella is able to pass as a white girl and that causes trouble. In the hope that he can earn extra money, Stacey runs away from home. Instead he learns how terrible it is to work in the cane fields and that home is the best place to be. This is a wonderful book about a loving family.
This book is part of the Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry/ Logan family book series. Similar to that book, this one is narrated by 10/11-year old Cassie Logan, the second oldest and one of four children of the Logan family. The book picks up where the other ended with TJ’s murder trial and the Logan’s still fighting to earn enough money to keep their land.
I like the telling of the story through the eyes of a black child because again, we get to experience first hand that loss of innocence. As a black girl, Cassie is seeing and learning how very different the world is for her both in terms of race and gender.
Some new characters are introduced but many old ones return for this great story told about love, loss, and family. I enjoyed everything about it and am off to read the next book of the series now.
I hope that all my young friends who are following my reading list and reviews on GoodReads will seriously consider reading this wonderful story. Please do talk to your parents first as there is some sad racial language that you are hopefully not usually exposed to and may need to discuss with them first. I loved this story for a lot of reasons. Not only is it an excellent depression-era story highlighting how African American sharecropping communities in the south struggled, but it is one of the most relateable representations of adolescence and common dynamics and struggles within families that I have seen. Finally, we see how, even when people have rights supposedly available to them, they can be denied them by an unspoken tradition of oppression through intimidation. You will learn (if you haven’t already) that even now, sometimes the right thing doesn’t happen because you are small and someone or something else is bigger, stronger, and/or and more influential. Sometimes there is not a happy ending and justice is not served, but we stand up anyway and let those sad things play out even if we know we will lose. Why? Because even when we do lose when all reason says we should have won, good strides can be made by being a warrior in the battle. It is very valuable for all the watching eyes around you see you bear up against your struggle with courage and dignity. Such little battles of all varieties are still going on in families and communities everywhere, every day, so learn to hold your head up and be a warrior for what is just, even if you are almost certain to lose it. I am interested in reading more by this author. I love authors who can fairly represent some of the most awful realities faced by mankind, while maintaining a good cheer that leaves the reader with a sense of righteous hope and determination. It is a magical thing to be able to do.
Amazing sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This one pushes into some of the deep complexities around race and love, inter-racial marriage, rape, and the "way things are" in Mississippi in the 1930s. There are so many layers and nuances to these stories -- it's a classic, epic, series and every book is a gem.
Honestly, this might even be a 4.5 star book for me (though not quite a 5 star). Taylor does an excellent job of introducing many serious historical subjects to a middle grade reader, including racism and discrimination, the Depression, sharecropping, lynching, and more. Be warned, she does use the n-word, which is sadly period accurate given that the story is set in Depression-era Mississippi; be ready to discuss this (and more other heavy issues) if you assign this book to a child.
This book avoids the classic children's book trope of the absent/neglectful/dead parents, which I really appreciated. Cassie is part of a strong, loving, multi-generational family unit, and yet still manages to have adventures independently while still being part of that unit. I also liked how Taylor shows how parents can be angry at each other while still loving each other, as well as other nuances of marriage, which can be a hard concept to communicate to younger readers.
This book isn't quite a 5-star read for me because I felt like Taylor dropped many issues right as they were reaching their climax, rather than fully exploring their consequences. For example Perhaps Taylor thought the consequences of these events were too heavy to fully explore in a children's book; but if that's the case, why introduce them in the first place at all?
Constantly dropping storylines and starting new ones also gave the book an episodic, choppy feel at times. I also had trouble keeping track of all the characters, but I realize I'm jumping in the middle of the series, and this might have been remedied had I started at the beginning and read all the way through, so I don't count that against this book. These quibbles aside, this was an excellent book that I highly recommend.
Mildred Taylor has written a powerful book, and Circle should be a _required_ companion book for anyone who reads To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I had an interesting time googling "Mildred Taylor Harper Lee" to find comparative studies (Recommend).
Both were set in the segregated South, both have little girls as protagonists with interesting brothers and parents. Both also have a trial (near the end of Roll of Thunder, and the first 1/4 of Circle). Both show life during that time period, but from vastly different perspectives. If you read TKAM, you need to read Circle.
I also read Taylor's previous book in this series (Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry) and that was a difficult book to read (emotionally). I found this book easier to enjoy reading. Time to find the Road to Memphis!
This is the book I am reading for my book report at school. It's the sequal to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. So far it's good. Well I'm past the trial, but I won't tell you the outcome. Since then life has been hard. Cousin Bud's daughter, Suzelle, coming to live with them, Cassie getting scarlet fever, and Stacey running away from home to get a job. I'm almost done with the book. I hope they find Stacey! I finished the book, and it sort of leaves you hanging...I really liked it though.
WOW! This book is amazing. T.J Avery faces a death sentence, which makes no sense considering what the truth is and how much sense the trial made.
Suzella is Cassie's cousin. She is also mixed blood. She comes to live with Cassie and the other Logans for a while. Ther is a lot of stuff in this book that is outstanding. Mrs. Lee Annie Lees also registers to vote. Her plan ends up backfiring, though.
Stacey and one of his friends runs away for new hope and a job and money to help his parents for their land. This book is so amazing! I love it!
This made me cry. But you have to read all the other books for any of this to make sense. Especially "The Land". Its like five stories in one to make one epic story. This book by Mildred Taylor tells us what a family in the south had to go through to keep the four hundred acre land they've kept for so long. They experience hardships and racial segregation on their way, including a friend being sent on death row, but they persevere and fight for the only thing that has meaning in their lives.
Excellent sequel to Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Adresses issues of racism through the lives of a black community in Mississippi in 1934. The struggle to keep their land, the biased trial of their friend TJ, voting rights, interracial marriage, and their biracial cousin Suzella who lives with the Logan family and and brings changes to their lives.
Sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Historical fiction about an African-American family in Depression era South. Mixed-race cousin, Suzella, comes to visit and makes the mistake of trying to pass for white. Brother Stacey runs away to work on a cane plantation. Excellent book.
Okay- that was crazy. I remember being in bed a LONG time ago reading this book and not appreciating it. But, now? HOLY CRAP. It is one of the most phenomenal pieces of work out there.
One of the chapters circled around the death penalty trial of our homeboy T.J. And, God, was I sobbing. There really needs to be some credit out there to Mr. Jamison and to all of the lawyers who do absolute good in the world and nothing else.
And Jeremyyyyy, my second favorite character aside from our Cassie girl.
How can this look make preparing and and baking and cooking food so DARN delicious???? my mouth is literally WATERING.
But that cat scene with Wordell- Why, oh, WHY DID HE HAVE TO DO THAT??? WHY. *hmf* (thank you Clayton-Chester and Christopher John and Cassie Logan for making it a proper burial)
The amount of richness, flavor, textual proof, and AMAZINGNESS within the author's writing has no doubt committed me to a Mildred D. Taylor fan.
And then that part with Suzella and her dad and Stuart- UGHHHHHHHHH, it made me want to blow my mind off.
And then there was that one scene where one of the characters tries to vote, and God, what happens next is so CRAZY unfair. T-T
This is one of those books that will keep you up late at night reading and begging just to know the ending. (even though it felt soooooo unfair)
This was such a good story and I would HIGHLY recommend it for readers who can accept a lot of pain and misery and still move on with the point of the story. (It contains some minor graphic content.)
I've said in my other reviews of this series, I came late to these books, only reading them after my children were assigned "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry". I started reading the rest as much out of an aversion to only reading the middle book of a series (even if they do stand on their own just fine) but am glad that I kept with it.
As these books are aimed at a younger audience, the writing is suitably uncomplicated and accessible. The picture of the hardships visited upon the blacks of the south is unflinching; the reader witnesses everything from routine humiliation and harrassment to judicial miscarriage to the most vile forms of exploitation.
I imagine some passages are even more evocative to a younger, more innocent audience who lacks enough experience to be duly cynical. Early in the book, there is a courtroom scene that is not unlike one in "My Cousin Vinny", where a near-sighted witness has her testimony discredited by an in court demonstration of her myopia. The inevitable guilty verdict that handed down regardless of the lack of evidence must be all the most crushing if it is not expected.
That same pattern of futility plays out over and over again, with one implacable situation after another. That the family perseveres regardless is a testament to their indominable spirit and their stubborn sense of dignity in spite of the assaults on it.
I've read the books in this series several times and they are all well written. However, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry is my favorite.
When I read these books set in the 30s, I am so amazed at how poorly African Americans were treated simply because of the color of their skin. In spite of they way they are treated, the Logan family manages to survive while taking care of their family and friends while rising their children to have self respect.
Hearing how the fever Cassie caught swept the whole town and school was closed for two weeks really hit me this time due to Covid 19. In previous reads I'm sure I just thought that was so old-fashioned. However, I've lived it now.
Reading about the author at the end of the book gave me a surprise too. Mildred Taylor grew up in Toledo, Ohio and graduated from the University of Toledo. I grew up in the same area, and my mother attended that university. Small world. I know Jamie Farr, and Katie Holmes are from Toledo but I didn't know this author was too. Cool!
Really good book. This is a historical fiction about a family in Mississippi in the 1930's. Though the characters aren't real, the stories sure are. They were real for millions of Black men, women and children. The author wrote this series with the intent of telling the story of the children in the South who grew up to be the men and women of the Civil Rights movement.
But if you want a good book that deals with some pretty harsh race issues, yet is still quite appropriate for most junior high or high school aged kids, then I strongly recommend reading these books by Mildred Taylor.
This novel is a direct sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. The rich narrative immerses readers in the lives of the Logans again as they battle discrimination during the Depression in Mississippi. Some of the most interesting storylines were about the trial that got foolish TJ sent to jail for life, while the two white boys that he participated in the crime with get off free, how elderly Lee Annie gets kicked out of her home because she tried to register to vote, the difficulties that the Logan's mixed-race cousin Suzella endured when she tried to pass for white, and for Stacey and Moe's attempt to work in the cane fields for money to help their families. Another powerful book in the Logan saga about racism, family and self-respect.
Another great read by Mildred Taylor. This book deals with the difficulties of not being able to find enough profitable work at home and how that drive the eldest Logan son to go looking for work in Louisiana. This volume also addresses the disparity in voting rights among black people and women..