Dedicated to sharing great children's fiction - old and new - with kids and their parents.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Song of the Trees by Mildred Taylor
"A soft breeze stirred, and their voices whispered down to me in a song of morning greeting." -Cassie
Cassie Logan's family is the only black family to own land in their township of Mississippi.It's hard for the white people in the area to countenance the confidence this land gives the Logans.They aren't typical of other blacks, and they certainly don't act the way the whites want them to.For Cassie the trees mean home.They are alive, and she can often hear them sing.One day the trees stop singing, however.Times are hard, and Mr. Logan is away working on railroad construction.Big Ma (Cassie's grandmother) feels forced by necessity to sell some of the trees.The white man who makes the deal tries to swindle her by taking more trees than he pays for.Stacey, Cassie’s older brother, goes for Mr. Logan.When they return, Mr. Logan brings a black detonator box with him.The night they arrive home, they lay sticks of dynamite throughout the woods.Mr. Logan’s ploy drives the men off and saves the trees, but Cassie wonders if they will every sing again
With this simple story, Mildred Taylor began sharing her family’s stories- the stories told by her parents and grandparents.Of this experience, she said, “I remember my grandparents’ house, the house my great-grandfather had built at the turn of the century, and I remember the adults talking about the past. As they talked I began to visualize all the family who had once known the land, and I felt as if I knew them, too…Many of the stories told were humorous, some were tragic, but all told of the dignity and survival of a people living in a society that allowed them few rights as citizens and treated them as inferiors. Much history was in those stories, and I never tired of hearing them. There were stories about slavery and the days following slavery. There were stories about family and friends." (from: Acceptance of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for The Friendship, The Horn Book Magazine, March 1989, pgs. 179-80)