As the Civil War rages, another battle breaks out behind the lines. During a long hot July in 1863, the worst race riots the United States has ever seen erupt in New York City. Earlier that year, desperate for more Union soldiers, President Abraham Lincoln instituted a draft—a draft that would allow the wealthy to escape serving in the army by paying a $300 waiver, more than a year’s income for the recent immigrant Irish. And on July 11, as the first drawing takes place in Lower Manhattan, the city of New York explodes in rage and fire. Stores are looted; buildings, including the Colored Foundling Home, are burned down; and black Americans are attacked, beaten, and murdered. The police cannot hold out against the rioters, and finally, battle-hardened soldiers are ordered back from the fields of Gettysburg to put down the insurrection, which they do—brutally. Fifteen-year-old Claire, the beloved daughter of a black father and Irish mother, finds herself torn between the two warring sides. Faced with the breakdown of the city—the home—she has loved, Claire must discover the strength and resilience to address the new world in which she finds herself, and to begin the hard journey of remaking herself and her identity. Addressing such issues as race, bigotry, and class head-on, Walter Dean Myers has written another stirring and exciting novel that will shake up assumptions, and lift the spirit.
|Interest Level||Grade 7 - Grade 12|
|Reading Level||Grade 7|
|Genre||Fiction, Young Adult|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Carolrhoda Lab ®|
|Number of Pages||192|
|Reading Counts! Level||5.3|
|Reading Counts! Points||9.0|
School Library Journal
“Myers crafts a sympathetic cast, which is excellent fodder for conversations about race and class, and the book is also a choice pick for reluctant readers who will relish both format and pacing. Once again, this master storyteller has delivered.” —starred, School Library Journal
“There are no easy resolutions, idealized characters, or stereotypes, and the conflicts are unforgettable….Great for reader’s theater, this is sure to spark discussion about race, class, conflict, and loyalty, then and now.” —starred, Booklist
“Another innovative work by an author constantly stretching the boundaries of what fiction can be, and a natural for readers’ theater in the classroom.” —starred, Kirkus Reviews
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers has received accolades including the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, Michael L. Printz Award, National Book Award Finalist, and Newbery Honors. In 2019 he was posthumously awarded the Children's Literature Legacy Award.