National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine delivers a powerful story of family, friendship, and race relations in the South.
Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He's a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Rocky Gap, Virginia.
Red's daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and Mama with some hard decisions and a whole lot of doubt. Should they sell the Porter family business, a gas station, repair shop, and convenience store rolled into one, where the slogan -- "Porter's: We Fix it Right!" -- has been shouting the family's pride for as long as anyone can remember?
With Daddy gone, everything's different. Through his friendship with Thomas, Beau, and Miss Georgia, Red starts to see there's a lot more than car motors and rusty fenders that need fixing in his world.
When Red discovers the injustices that have been happening in Rocky Gap since before he was born, he's faced with unsettling questions about his family's legacy.
09/02/2013 In the aftermath of the civil rights movement, bigotry still permeates 1972 Stony Gap, Va., the hometown of 12-year-old Frederick “Red” Porter. Red’s father was a fair man up until the day he died, and now it’s Red’s duty to carry on his legacy. There are many wrongs Red would like to make right, like the way a neighbor, Mr. Dunlop, abuses his children. Red would also like to help an elderly African-American neighbor, Miss Georgia, whose family was cheated out of land a century ago. When Red’s mother decides they should move to Ohio, Red fears he won’t have time to correct these injustices the way his father would have wanted. Although the narrative makes heavy use of early 1970s pop culture references (especially TV shows) to build its setting, National Book Award winner Erskine (Mockingbird) offers powerful images of discrimination practiced in the South. She frankly explores the difficulty in fighting a corrupt system, but also stresses the difference one individual—even a child—can make, providing hope that justice can prevail. Ages 10–14.
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