13 December 2011

Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan

Samantha and her mom have just moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Jackson, Mississippi in the year 1962, when segregation is still firmly established in much of the south.  Sam's dad died a war hero, and they decided to move closer to her dad's hometown, where Sam's mom got a job as a professor at a local white college.  When her mom decided to give a series of lectures at Tougaloo, an all-black college in Jackson, the two slowly begins to turn against them, warning Sam and her mom that they don't like "outsiders."  In the meantime, her mom's friend, Perry Walker, teaches Sam how to look through a camera lens to not just take pictures, but to capture stories in the people, places, and things around her, even when those things are ugly or scary or dangerous.

This is a compelling account of American race relations that is recommended to middle grade readers; many will relate to the feeling of being an outsider or as the one who seems to see and look at things different than others, and girls will especially relate to Sam's relationship with Stone.  Another great historical fiction novel by Margaret McMullan is When I Crossed No-Bob.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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