August 18, 2015
Trip Westbrook has spent his first twelve years far from the struggle for civil rights going on in Mississippi. The one black person he knows well is Willie Jane, the family maid, who has been a second mother to him. When Trip invites her son, Dee, to play football in the yard, he discovers the ugly side of his smiling neighbors. Trip’s old pals stop coming by. He is bullied, his house is defaced, and his family is threatened. The Westbrooks will be forced to choose between doing the right thing or losing the only home Trip has ever known. Who knew that playing football in the yard could have such consequences? This engaging, honest, and hopeful novel is full of memorable characters, and brings the civil rights–era South alive for young readers.
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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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