Book Review: William Henry is a Fine Name

Jake pushed a greasy hank of hair off his forehead and hitched up his pants. “I guess whipping your pa for trespassing last week wasn’t enough, William Henry. We’ll see who thinks he’s funny when I tell my pa that darkies and white trash is stealing our fish.”

I felt William Henry’s muscles tense beside me, but his mouth never twitched.


Robert’s best friend is black, his father works on the Underground Railroad, and his mother still clings to the mindset of the plantation she grew up on. When his mother takes Robert to her childhood home, he meets his grandfather and finds himself trying to rationalize slavery. When he sees two runaway slaves brutally punished he realizes that the “peculiar institution” of the south cannot be rationalized. Will he make the right choice when people’s lives depend on him?

Visit author Cathy Gohlke’s website.
Read the first chapter on amazon.


2 Replies to “Book Review: William Henry is a Fine Name”

    1. It is a wonderful book. It is written for adults but has a twelve year old main character. I would say it could make a good family read aloud. You may want to pre-read parts before reading it with little kids, though. There is one particularly sickening scene describing the punishment of two runaway slaves that you might want to skim over or tell in your own words. A few other spots also contain historically accurate scenes that are probably not meant for young readers.

      Hope you have a chance to enjoy this book!

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