Middle-grade readers are in luck. Levine has written a
richly-realized tale of a powerful best-friendship and a boy's passage into
manhood during a shameful and violent period in America's past.
Moundville Alabama is the backdrop for twelve-year-old Dit Sims' lively (occasionally hokey) first-person narrative. One of ten children of a white family, Dit's days are filled with hunting, fishing, chopping wood, skipping stones along the surface of the Black Warrior River, and lessons in a one-room school. Rural life during the teens of the last century will absorb and shock young twenty-first century readers: Levine confidently and convincingly describes Dit's once-weekly baths in a washtub; his hand-wound twine baseball; his games of marbles; his first disorienting and overwhelming experience watching a silent movie; and the racial divisions, bigotry, hypocrisy and ...
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