By Barbara Wright
Random House, $16.99, 304 pages
Crow, a novel by Barbara Wright, is an achingly glorious narrative of the only successful coup in American history through the eyes of a boy. In 1898 Moses Thomas is on the cusp of adulthood and his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina is a city of opportunity for blacks with sufficient education and ambition. Yet, despite his brains and seemingly promising future, Moses’ grandmother, Boo Nanny, warns him of bad luck ahead. She knows the signs, she says. In a time of festering ideas of white supremacy, Moses’ quiet life suddenly becomes desperately and frighteningly loud. No colored person in Wilmington is safe.
Wright has done a magnificent job of conveying the utterly senseless destruction of the Wilmington Massacre with a colorful, organic cast of characters and powerful prose. Readers are drawn into the conflicting world of the South through this moving retelling of history. Crow deals with heavy topics and contains some decidedly mature references so parents may want to proofread the book first.
A tribute to those who risk everything to make the world a more tolerant and democratic place, Crow is a valuable addition to tween literature.
Reviewed by Andrea Klein