Thursday, July 17, 2008
by Shelia P. Moses. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004. Library copy. In 1947 Rich Square, North Carolina twelve year old Patty Mae lives with her mother and grandparents and adores her Uncle Buddy. He's handsome and smart and just home from living up North in Harlem. Pattie Mae's mother is a sharecropper and she and Pattie Mae live in a former "slave house", complete with the bell in the yard used to call the slaves in for "feeding time". Her grandparents live next door and own their land, bought through her great-great-grandfather's labor towards his former slave owner. In the midst of racism and injustice Pattie Mae's strong family endures heart-breaking trauma as her grandfather slowly dies from a previous injury done in brutality by the town's sheriff and her Uncle Buddy is put in jail after unjustly being accused of attempting to rape a white woman who passed him on the sidewalk. Seen through the eyes of Patty Mae, the confusion and violence embedded in the community are direct and shattering. The story is based on true events that the author, Shelia P. Moses, learned about at her grandmother's knee. It's beautifully written and rich with conversation material for a book club or study group. There is a sequel called The Return of Buddy Bush. Recommended for grades 6-8. National Book Award finalist for Young People's Literature, 2004, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor book, 2005.
Sheila P. Moses (1961–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights