Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Mildred D Taylor

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Penguin Random House Children's UK
United Kingdom
23 February 2023

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Mildred D Taylor

There are things you can’t back down on, things you gotta take a stand on. But it’s up to you to decide what them things are.

Cassie Logan can’t understand why her father is so proud of his land and farming his own crops. Her family refuses to sell their fields to a local man despite persistent pressure to do so, but for her parents the land is a symbol of sanctuary.

Over the course of a year, Cassie must learn about standing up for what’s right and picking your battles whilst she and her family navigate racism in its various forms; from the ‘night riders’ that terrorise her community, to the everyday prejudice that permeates life in 1930s Mississippi.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a powerful story of family, self-respect and strength, set against the turbulent backdrop of the Jim Crow South.


First published in 1976 and winner of the Newbery Medal, this is a potent story of a tight-knit African American family experiencing prejudice and racism in Mississippi in the 1930s. The story is told from nine-year-old Cassie’s point of view; she’s the middle child in her family and the only girl.

As Cassie and her brothers go about their lives, we witness the injustices they regularly suffer and their growing awareness of their neighbours’ racism. Cassie’s family own their land and are determined to hold onto it, whatever threats may come. Cassie’s strong character and her loving family kept me enthralled with this story, despite the fears I held for them while reading it. This book made a powerful impression upon me as a child, and even more so as an adult.

Mildred D Taylor has said her books are based on oral history told by her elders, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the second book in a seven-book series. It would be a great book for a family or class to read and discuss together. It is also a necessary story for all children to read to better grasp the history of racism and its impact on children like Cassie and their families. Highly recommended for ages 10+.

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