Standing up, fighting back

Three books that will take you on a journey of struggle, surviving ordeals, and emerging stronger...

You cannot open a book without learning something.

~ Confucius

Standing up, fighting back

Here are three books that will take you on a wondrous journey of hope, living through struggle, and not giving up. The first is The Skylarks’ War by Hilary Macay, a tale of lives overshadowed by the First World War and saved by family and friendship. Brought up in a strict London house in the haphazard care of a father, who is mostly absent, and a short-tempered housekeeper, Peter and Clarry long for summer, every year, when they can escape to their grandparents house in Cornwall, where, along with their kind cousin Rupert, they get a taste of freedom, mutual kindness and understanding. However, things change when Peter is sent to boarding school and Clary is left at home. When the Great War breaks out, Rupert goes off to fight, and it seems that their lives will be changed forever. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Will the family make it through this hellish war?

Surviving an ordeal

Standing up, fighting back

Imagine you are an independent, young girl, yet, the odds are constantly against you, no matter how strongly you fight back? That is exactly how nine-year-old Cassie Logan feels. Mildred D. Taylor’s book, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is set in Mississippi at the height of the The Great Depression. Cassie and her family are traumatised by the inequality and racism in their small Mississippi town. She is proud of her heritage after learning how her grandfather worked hard to acquire his own land. She knows that her family, by virtue of being black, must work doubly hard to make their tax and mortgage payments. Trouble arrives in the form of a wealthy businessman who wants their land, and sets in motion a series of events to accomplish his ends. Soon, the family is caught in a whirlpool of violence and hatred — a family is threatened by a white neighbour, a mob threatens people, and children are whipped by teachers and parents. It is in the midst of such struggle that young Cassie also discovers why it is important to have land of one’s own and she manages to draw strength from her own self-respect and deal with the horrific goings-on around her.

Fighting for rights

Standing up, fighting back

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson is a vivid portrait of Betty Shabazz, civil rights activist and wife of Malcolm X. It focuses on Betty Shabazz, during her middle-school years in Detroit, where she lives with her abusive mother, Ollie Mae, her stepfather and several siblings. She loves music, candy, her friends and siblings. Life however, takes a turn for the worse when she is brutally whipped by her mother. She is saved and taken in by Helen and Lorenzo Malloy. Helen is the leader of the Housewives’ League, and it urges women to boycott stores that don’t hire or respect black people. Lorenzo is a businessman. They try to shield Betty from the ugly realities of racism, even as they teach her to stand up and combat injustice.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 3:23:54 PM |

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