Yard War by Taylor Kitchings
August 18,2015 – Wendy Lamb Books
224 pages – Fiction, Middle Grade, Historical
Source: Penguin Random House
I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
From Goodreads: It’s 1964 in Jackson, Mississippi, deep in the civil rights movement, and the one black person twelve-year-old Trip Westbrook knows well is Willie Jane, the family maid, who has been a second mother to him. When Trip invites her son, Dee, to play football in the yard, Trip discovers the ugly side of his smiling neighbors. Even his loving grandparents don’t approve. But getting to know Dee and playing football, being part of a team, changes Trip. He begins to see all the unspoken rules he lives by but doesn’t agree with, such as respect your elders. What if he thinks their views are wrong? This engaging, honest, and hopeful novel is full of memorable characters, and brings the civil rights–era South alive for young readers.
My Thoughts: Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if I had been born earlier, if I had been born during slavery, segregation or during a time when interracial dating was illegal. Then I admit the truth, I wouldn’t have survived. I would have been killed during slavery, and lonely during segregation. I was made for the time that I was born in. My personality was not suited for any other time, and I am not sure if that makes sense to those who don’t know me.
Race is still a hot button topic today. But sometimes something comes along and helps you see it in a different light. That is what Yard War does.I really enjoyed reading this story. Especially since the narrator’s voice was clear and realistic. It was able to see through his eyes and take on his point of view. Trip is truly innocent and does not pick up on the unspoken rules of his community. I point this out, because if he’s not innocent than everything he does is malicious and it changes the entire story. Being able to see inside Trip’s experience was very important, but I think it would be interesting to see inside Dee’s experience as well. Getting to know the parents behind the kid added another layer to the story. I didn’t believe how the mother and grandmother made up after their argument, it was shallow at best. This was really just a start to something, a portion of the experience for people during this time. But, it was a great read and this is one book that I will definitely be recommending to just about everybody. Not just to readers, but to teachers and other educators as well.
4 stars ****