Review Detail

Kids Fiction 2392
Historical Fiction WITH Football!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Trip is a typical, self-centered junior high student in 1964-- he doesn't think about ripping his new jeans and asking the family maid, Willie Jean, to fix them. He also is okay with sleeping in and then demanding she stop her other work to make him pancakes, and when he needs another boy to play football, why shouldn't Willie Jean's son, Dee, stop working in the yard and play with him? Trip soon starts to see that the way his world works isn't the way that Dee's works. Neighbors complain about a black boy playing in the front yard with white boys, and Trip starts to notice things like the fact that Dee only has a few clothes, and is always hungry. Mississippi is a hot bed of Civil Rights problems at this time, and even Trip's father is finding that he can't just suddenly let "colored people" sit in the "white" waiting room of his medical office without repercussions. Things get so bad for Trip's family after they try to support the Negroes in their town that they consider moving, but eventually decide that they need to stay and see if they can be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Good Points
I definitely appreciated that it took Trip a while before he saw how Dee was treated in the community. He had some inkling that things were not on the same level for everyone, but it took him a while to feel the full scope. It was also believable that he because friends with Trip and then didn't see why HIS friend should live by a separate set of rules. There were also some good moments when Trip's learned prejudice came out, even though he did truly like Dee. The family's reactions also seemed to ring true.

There are a number of books that put sports in a historical context, from Robert Parker's Edenville Owls to Yep's Dragon Road. Yard War is a great introduction to the Civil Rights movement for readers who might not normally pick up a historical book, but who will gladly read anything and everything that is about football!
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