|Pic courtesy Flipkart|
Written by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
Published by Candlewick Press
Ages 9-12 yrs
Darby Carmichael is a white, 9 yr old girl living in Bennettsville, Marlboro county, South Carolina, in the racially intolerant early 1920s. She has two "best friends", Beth at the all-white school, and Evette Robinson, the girl who stays on the farm next door, the daughter of a black sharecropper. Darby looks forward to coming home from school everyday, so that she can just run off to play with Evette. Given a choice, of course, Darby would choose Evette over all her other friends, but even at 9, she knows that it cannot be done.
Darby's dream is to be a newpaper journalist, and she attempts to write for the local daily, helped to a large extent by Evette with whom she discusses her ideas, and who edits her work. This is accepted by Mr Salter, the editor of the Bennettsville Times, who is a friend of her father's. Of course, he knows all about Evette's role in this, but does not say anything, as he, along with Darby's father, is anti racial sentiment.
Darby gets better and better in her writing (with Evette's help of course), and soon has an article appearing in the daily every week, her family and friends making much of it! So when she witnesses the beating up of Evette's brother for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, by Turpin Dunn, a white man who she knows her father despises for his ill-manners and bad-tempered behaviour, and who her father knows is a member of the dreaded Klu Klux Klan, she proceeds to write about it. Fully knowing the furore this would cause, her father permits the daily to publish it.
What happens next? How is the following drama played out? Does right prevail in the end?
A wonderful book about the battle of right against wrong, about an innate sense of equality present in a child's mind, in a first person version of a 9 yr old on the "priviledged" side of racial segregation. A coming of age book, a journey from wide-eyed innocence to the slow dawning of a knowledge of reality, and the courage to stand up for what one thinks is right.
A good book to follow up this wonderful book reviewed by Meera on ST. A book in honour of Black History Month.