Why did Roll of Thunder, Hear My cry by Mildred Taylor win prizes?                                

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 1977, Mildred Taylor's Rolling Thunder, Hear My Cry won the Newberry Medal, an award given to a work of American literature written for children that is original in its text and marked by distinctive excellence. Members of the judging committee make evaluations based upon the following:

  1. "Interpretation of the theme or concept"
  2. "Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and      organization"
  3. "Development of a plot"
  4. "Delineation of characters"
  5. "Delineation of a setting"
  6. "Appropriateness of style"

Rolling Thunder, Hear My Cry certainly has appeal to young audiences with the characters of the strong-willed Cassie and the michievous T. J. Stryver. Verisimilitude as well as interest is attained with the setting of the Jim Crow South in which the Logan family are subjected to unwonted persecution. And, their resilience and fortitude in fighting for their rights and property is inspiring to young readers.  In addition, the style in which the novel is written, with Cassie as narrator which provides a child's perspective, is appealing the young readers.

Other awards that Taylor's novel received for its interest and appeal to youthful readers are the ALA (American Library Association) Notable Book award and the New York Times Book Review Best of Children's Books for the years 1970-1980 as well as the pacific Northwest Young Reader's Award. 

Of course, while the narrative appeals to young readers, there is also a significant theme and moral lessons in this exciting novel that dramatizes true historical events. Indeed, the Logan children mature from their experiences, and readers can vicariously learn lessons about life that the Logan children do. 

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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