"Libraries are about books. Books have no color. And they don't care who reads them." What a great quote! These lines are spoken by title character Glory's father in response to a threat to close the public library by a racist busybody who is upset by the new policy to allow "coloreds" to apply for library cards. Glory Be is the debut middle grades book by Augusta Scattergood, a former librarian and proud Mississippi girl, who wrote this fictional story based on her real-life experiences growing up in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement.
Glory Be is the story of Gloriana Hemphill and the town of Hanging Moss, Mississippi during the turbulent first half of the 1960s. It is summertime, just before Glory's twelfth birthday, and all Glory wants is to swim in the town's pool, hang out with her best friend, Frankie, and celebrate her birthday with a party on the Fourth of July. It is what Glory has done every summer for years, but this summer is different. There is unrest in the small town of Hanging Moss. "Yankees" have come down from the north to make changes and champion the rights of African Americans, and Glory is torn between supporting the cause and wishing that things would go back to the way they used to be.
The two things that make this book so timeless, and I do think this is a story that will be read for generations, are the subject matter and the voice of Glory herself. Scattergood's approach to writing about the Civil Rights Movement for kids is honest without revealing aspects that are better left for older readers. And what can I say about Gloriana Hemphill? She is literary perfection. Scattergood creates a character in Glory that any girl can identify with. She's smart, she's headstrong, and she tries to do the right thing, but sometimes all she wants is to be a kid.
This one belongs on your bookshelf.
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