Reviews for Thousand Never Evers

Booklist Reviews 2008 April #2
After Addie starts junior high in 1963 at a segregated Mississippi school, she hears about the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, and encounters vicious racism close to home: her beloved older brother runs to escape Klan violence, and she discovers the horrific secret of her father's death. When her uncle, falsely accused of destroying a community garden, is denied a fair trial, the NAACP must intervene, and Addie uncovers the real perpetrator. The huge cast, virtually the whole small town, is hard to keep straight, and Addie's detective work is somewhat contrived. But many characters are drawn with complexity, and Addie's personal narrative captures the poverty and prejudice, as well as the civil rights struggle in daily life. At the core is demonic authority--law enforcement and judicial bigotry, and laws that prevent "uppity coloreds" from registering to vote. Then there's the one young girl who makes a difference. Appended with extensive historical notes, this debut novel will work well in the American history curriculum. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
In 1963 Kuckachoo, Mississippi, Old Man Adams bequeaths land for a garden that everyone in the community can enjoy. It's clear, though, that the white folks don't intend to follow his wishes. After a violent incident forces African American Addie's brother into hiding, tensions run high. Imagery fills Addie's poignant first-person narration of one town's civil rights battle. Timeline. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 May #1
Until now--1963--in Kuckachoo, Miss., Addie Ann Pickett never thought much about how unfair things are. She just figured that's the way life is, and she couldn't do anything about it. But she's becoming more aware of the outside world: Medgar Evers has been shot, four young girls were killed in Birmingham and now her older brother is missing, a possible victim of racist violence. Addie Ann has to grow up quickly, use her head and learn to take a stand for what's right. Burg offers a sensitive portrait of a young girl and her family, never letting the larger history of the civil-rights movement overwhelm the particulars of this one place in time. The threat of violence is palpable, and the relationships among the residents of Kuckachoo--white and black--are realistically drawn, dramatizing both the legacy of racism and the hope of community. Addie Ann's story will help young readers realize that "You're never too young to speak up for justice and lead by your own example." (author's note, afterword, chronology) (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 June #2

Set in rural Mississippi during the civil rights movement, this gripping first novel offers an up-close look at the racism and violence endured in an African-American community. By the time Addie Ann Pickett, the narrator, enters junior high, she is well aware of the racial divisions in her county. She has been warned not to stay on the white side of town after the sun has set and not to "look at white folks too close." But her older brother and the local minister have different ideas and argue that "there comes a time when a man's dignity's worth more than his life." Caught between her mother's rule to stay away from trouble and the call to take action, Addie must make decisions, especially when the lives of two family members are at stake. References to significant historical events (Medgar Evers's assassination, the March on Washington) add authenticity and depth, while Addie's frank, expertly modulated voice delivers an emotional wallop. Ages 9-12. (June)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 July

Gr 5-8-- Burg's debut novel, set in 1963, is told through the eyes of Addie Ann Pritchett, a seventh-grade African American. She finds herself embroiled in the Civil Rights Movement that affects her family and her little town in the Mississippi Delta in profound and personal ways. To start, there's the death of the richest man in town, who bequeaths his land to everyone in Kuckachoo so that, "together whites and Negroes shall plant a garden." Addie and her mother work as household help for a young couple in town, where the girl overhears hateful remarks made by members of the Garden Club, who have no intention of sharing the produce from Old Man Adams's land across racial lines. Meanwhile, Addie's brother accidentally breaks the leg of a white bully who is tormenting her cat and flees into the bayou. Elias disappears and is feared drowned. Weaving in and out of these serious concerns are the normal insecurities of a girl on the brink of adolescence. Addie's relationships with her family and friends are interesting and well developed. The civil rights issues that come to a head as Addie's uncle is arrested and in danger of being lynched will make the injustices of the era vivid for today's readers. The protagonist moves from protected innocence out to the larger, often-threatening world and finds strength in her family, her community, and herself. This is not a perfect book--some of the dialogue seems stiff-but it is a compelling story that doesn't oversimplify complex situations.--Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY

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