Dear Parents and Guardians,
The 7th grade students are going to begin reading the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor this quarter. It is a story set during the 1930’s in Mississippi. An African-American family encounters many problems while trying to fight discrimination and keep the land they love.
This book, the second of Mildred Taylor’s books about the Logan family, was published in 1976 and won the Newbery Award, which recognizes excellence in books written for children. The book was dedicated to Taylor’s father, who the characters of Stacey and David were based. As the author of ten novels for young readers, Taylor provides historical fiction about life for black Americans in her award-winning series of novels about the fictional Logan family. This novel does not gloss over historical or contemporary realities.
Even though there are terms used that are not politically correct, this book depicts this era very well. In her acceptance speech for the 1997 Alan Award for significant contributions to young adult literature, Taylor noted: "I have to be honest with myself in the telling of all my stories. I realize I must be true to the feelings of the people about whom I write and true to the stories told. My stories might not be 'politically correct,' so there will be those who will be offended, but as we all know, racism is offensive."
We will be reading the book together in class. There are wonderful themes to explore throughout the book: family, courage, friendship, perseverance. However, the words and the events are sometimes quite harsh. We are quite confident that our 7th grade students are mature enough to read, understand, and discuss this book in a classroom setting.
7th Grade Language Arts Team,
Onyx became a part of our family a little over two years ago. Maacah and I spotted this adorable chihauhau mix at the Humane Society when we visited "just to look...not to adopt." I really was not ready for another dog. We already had a miniature dauschund who had been with us for several years, and Maacah had only just lost her precious Abel, a dauschund mix, to an unknown malady.
Onyx, who was named Pierre at the time, lay huddled next to his sister. Both were tiny little things. After the initial, "Oh, how cute," came the "Oh, what happened?" Onyx's right leg was wrapped in a blue cast that seemed impossibly bulky and heavy for such a petite puppy. Upon inquiry we learned that, while visiting another home to become socialized, Onyx had jumped from a couch and broken his brittle leg.
Maacah turned to me and asked, "Can we please see him?" I caved. I shouldn't have, but I did. This was the beginning of the end of my resolve to "just look, not adopt."
Maacah cuddled the shivering little chihauhau mix in her arms. He was very skittish and looked so scared. She fell in love, and I couldn't walk out without placing a hold on the little dear. We probably would have ended up with two, but his sister was already spoken for.
Later that week, this shy little fella came to live with us and we are ever so grateful. He is still skittish, but is becoming braver and more social with others outside of our family. He loves to snuggle, and I am happy to have him by my side, especially when I'm fastened to a spot grading writing projects.