5 Books About Black History that I Read in Junior High

Over the past week, our country has been shaken by the death of George Floyd. The streets have been flooded with protesters and social media has been flooded with black squares.

These current events caused me think back on what shaped my understanding of our country’s racial history. As a tween and young teen, I faithfully kept a journal of books I read, so I pulled that journal out and took note of the books I read about slavery, the underground railroad, reconstruction, integration, inter-racial friendship, etc.

If you’re a young person wondering how to navigate and respond to current events, start with your Bible and prayer. But after that, if you want to understand the historical context, these books might help.

Parents and older siblings can also use stories like these as conversation starters or supplements to homeschool history curriculums.

Here are five titles by black authors that I read as a young teenager.

Breakthrough to the Big Leagues:  The Story of Jackie Robinson

Breakthrough to the Big Leagues, by Jackie Robinson

Continue reading “5 Books About Black History that I Read in Junior High”

Book Review: Gideon’s Call

Tad, a small slave boy on a Carolinian island, is destined for a unique and impressive future. As the Civil War approaches the island, the white masters flee, but the slaves stay. The new community of freedmen is swiftly selected to host a government experiment to see if the freed slaves can become contributing members of society. Tad’s smarts and entrepreneurial initiative soon catch the attention of Edward Pierce, leader of the experiment. As the war progresses, both Tad and Pierce are in for many adventures. Can Pierce’s connections and Tad’s firsthand experience of the brutality of slavery win the freedman a chance for a fresh start and a brighter future?

The Civil War is one of my favorite periods of history, and I have researched it extensively. Mr. Leavell wrote about an element of the time period I never heard about before. That was enough to hook me! The story is well written and the characters are sympathetic and compelling. There is a bit of a love story between Tad and a girl from the same plantation, however this sub-plot remained a sub-plot and did not dominate the story. This is a good book about an important period of history.

Author: Peter Leavell
Audience: Adults
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 359
Publisher: Worthy Publishing

What are your favorite stories set during the Civil War?

Read More Book Reviews

Book Review: Flight Into Spring

Even though Sally Day had just consented to become his wife, Charles left for the North the next day.

At sixteen years old, Sally Day Hammon, a vivacious and incorrigible southern-belle, marries Charles Horne, a stoic and quite Yankee soldier from Connecticut. When she moves to New England with her husband, Sally Day finds that her new life is much different from her old life. Her free-spirited ways clash with the more repressed Northern lifestyle. Can Sally Day adjust to her new family and new surroundings?

This was a fun read with a slightly frivolous feel. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, but I was unsatisfied with the main character, Sally Day. She doesn’t fill the Biblical role of submissive help-meet very well! That said, it’s a clean read with some interesting historical elements. If you can borrow it, I’d say go ahead and read it. If you’re looking for a book to buy, I recommend spending your money elsewhere .

Author: Bianca Bradbury
Audience: Tween–Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 184
Publisher: Bethlehem Books

Have you read Flight Into Spring? If so, what did you think? Are there any other post Civil War books you recommend?

Book Review: Gabriel’s Horses

When Pa shows me something, I take note. Pa’s the best horseman in Kentucky, and I aim to follow in his path.

Horses and horse racing are Gabriel’s life. He is the son of a freedman and a slave woman, making him a slave. He enjoys jockeying for his master and learning about horses from his father. He is happy until war sends his world spinning. His father leaves and a new horse trainer with harsh training methods arrives. To top things off, Confederate soldiers begin stealing horses. Gabriel must make sense of his new life while trying to protect the horses he loves.

This is the first book in the Racing to Freedom Trilogy. I read the trilogy several years ago. My library purchased the second book in the trilogy. After reading that book, I begged the librarians to buy the first and third book to add to their collection. They did and I enjoyed all three books. The story is fast paced and provides an unusual look at a popular period of history.

Author: Alison Hart
Audience: Middle Grade–Tween
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 160
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers

What are your favorite historical horse stories?

Read More Book Reviews