"For thirteen-year-old Sam it's not easy being the son of known civil rights activist Roland Childs. Especially when his older brother (and best friend), Stick, begins to drift away from him for no apparent reason. And then it happens: Sam finds something that changes everything forever.
Sam has always had faith in his father, but when he finds literature about the Black Panthers under Stick's bed, he's not sure who to believe: his father or his best friend. Suddenly, nothing feels certain anymore.
Sam wants to believe that his father is right: You can effect change without using violence. But as time goes on, Sam grows weary of standing by and watching as his friends and family suffer at the hands of racism in their own community. Sam begins to explore the Panthers with Stick, but soon he's involved in something far more serious - and more dangerous - than he could have ever predicted. Sam is faced with a difficult decision. Will he follow his father or his brother? His mind or his heart? The rock or the river?"
Author Kekla Magoon has a gem on her hands. One that I cannot even possibly describe how great and important it is. As librarians, and really as readers, we do not have enough fiction for kids and young adults on the Black Panther party and all they did as a group during the Civil Rights movement. This special book gives an inside look at not only the Black Panther party and their methods of fighting back against racisim, but also at those non-violent methods of Dr. King and his followers that we are actually aware of.
Sam, as a character, was incredibly believable and honest in his feelings. I never doubted him as a 13 year old and I loved his innocence in that coming-of-age style. You could see the passion of the author through Sam, but it came out as a young boy's confusion during a time filled with turmoil.
I think this is a novel everyone needs to read and one that teachers should be placing on their classroom lists. It is a significant and utterly important story to be read, especially for a first-time author. Bravo Kekla Magoon!
Buy this for your teen, your niece, your nephew, your school, or your library. Just get it.
The Rock and the River
Borrowed from local library
I read this one for the Cybil Awards.
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Associate and will receive a teeny percentage of your purchase price. Thanks!