It will be a pity if the literary title, the jacket illustration and Newbery Medal caption brand [Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry] as another well written but self-conscious tale of civil rights. It does for its period and place what Laura Ingalls Wilder did for the pioneers, and had the author used Mrs Wilder's third person narrative, the impact might have been greater. As in the 'Little House' books, there are many incidents of fun, family conversations and drama which would repay re-reading when the moral implications could be absorbed in a more subtle way. It deserves a wide audience…. (p. 47)
Margaret Payne, "Seven to Eleven: 'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry'," in The School Librarian, Vol. 26, No. 1, March, 1978, pp. 46-7.