AWARD-WINNING NONFICTION AUTHOR: Larry Dane Brimner is the author of a number of award-winning civil rights titles, including Twelve Days in May, the 2018 Robert F. Sibert Medal Winner, and the 2012 Robert F. Sibert Honor title Black & White: The Confrontation between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene “Bull” Connor.
EXTENSIVE SOURCE MATERIALS: Back matter provides a detailed account of the author’s thorough research, including field research in Scottsboro, Alabama, and an interview with Sheila Washington, who was instrumental in overturning the Scottsboro Boys’ wrongful conviction.
FILLS A CRUCIAL MARKET GAP: There are no recent young adult nonfiction books exploring this historical miscarriage of justice or similar trials.
SUBJECT HAS RELEVANCE TODAY: Like the Scottsboro Boys, African Americans today are still confronted by legal, social, and economic injustices. Subject ties into today’s Black Lives Matter movement. The case is considered by many to be the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.
DELVES INTO OTHER HISTORICAL MOMENTS: Will appeal to readers interested in the U.S. civil rights movement, African-American history, the Great Depression, 20th century American history, etc.
★ “Brimner revisits the history of injustice in America…(and) has extensively researched the heartbreaking story of the suffering and stolen futures of nine African American teens falsely accused of the rape of two white women in Alabama in 1931, laying all the facts on the table in a concise, gripping volume. The engaging, easy-to-follow text will draw readers into a historical account that mirrors many of today’s headlines…. (t)he parallels between the perils the Scottsboro Boys endured and current news stories show the continued relevance of this history, making this a must-have for both school and public libraries. Engaging and historically accurate; highly recommended.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “Brimner, who won the 2018 Sibert Award for his book Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 now looks at the case of the Scottsboro boys…Brimner has his work cut out for himself in telling this complicated story…(and) gives the narrative both heft and heart. The book’s design uses black-and-white photos to good advantage. A solid look at a noteworthy event that touched upon many aspects of U.S. society.”—Booklist, starred review
★ “Tightly wound, compelling, and comprehensive, Brimner’s meticulously documented narrative re-creates the menacing atmosphere of Depression-era segregated courtrooms, atrocious carceral facilities, and a riven public. Extensive quotations offer a sense of each historical figure’s character, from the boys on trial and their accusers to the officials handling cases and the captivated press. The text is enhanced with plentiful photographs, period news accounts and ephemera, and helpful sidebars offering broader context. Brimner draws parallels between the Scottsboro boys and present situations, reminding readers how far we’ve come—and how we continue to come up short. This masterly account of an egregious episode in American history is (and will remain) vital reading. An essential acquisition.”—School Library Journal, starred review
“Brimner’s skillful use of quotes…give the tale an engrossing urgency and pulls the events out of history books and into a compelling narrative. The mostly chronological format is easily accessible…(t)his has obvious curricular use, but it might also serve as a discussion-starting comparison between historical and current racial inequalities in the justice system.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This is an emotionally wrenching story…(and) a needed book in any school library, for it shows the dangers of unfettered racism.”—School Library Connection
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