Day of Tears by Julius Lester
A Novel in Dialogue

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Synopsis

Since their mother Fanny left, Emma has taken care of the Butler children, Sarah and Frances. She wants to raise them to have good hearts, as a rift in morals has ripped the Butler household apart: Sarah and their mother oppose the inhumanity of slavery while Frances and their father Pierce believe in the Southern lifestyle and treatment of blacks. Now, to pay off mounting gambling debts, Pierce decides to cash in on his "assets" and host the biggest slave auction in American history, at the price of his humanity. During those two days in Georgia, the skies weep on the proceedings below, for although Butler promises Emma's parents not to sell her, money, desperation, and greed enable him to justify his any misdeed. Through flashbacks and flash-forwards, and shifting first-person points of view, readers will travel with Emma and others through time and place, and come to understand that every decision has its consequences, and final judgment is passed down not by man, but by his maker. Julius Lester is a master of storytelling and transforms this little known piece of American history into one of the most dramatic and impressive works of his brilliant career.
 

About Julius Lester

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Writer, professor, and photographer Julius Lester was born in St. Louis, Missouri on January 27, 1939. He received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960. Lester's photographs from the civil rights movement era have been exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution and are part of Howard University's permanent collection. In addition to having hosted radio and television talk shows in New York City, Lester has also recorded two albums. Lester has published 25 children's books, as well as numerous works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry for adults. Translated into eight languages, his books have won the Newbery Honor Medal, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Many of his titles have also been on the New York Times Outstanding Book list and the American Library Association's Notable Book list. Lester has written hundreds of reviews and essays for publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, The New Republic, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. After teaching for two years at the New School for Social Research in New York, Lester joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts in 1971. He is an award-winning professor in the Judaic and Near Eastern Studies Department and an adjunct professor of History. He has given lectures at over 100 colleges and universities. Lester has five children and lives with his wife and cat in a small Western Massachusetts town.
 
Published April 1, 2007 by Perfection Learning. 177 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Day of Tears

Kirkus Reviews

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On a day when rain came down “hard as sorrow,” George Weems sets out to sell more slaves at one time than anyone ever had.

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Publishers Weekly

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Emma mentions that Mistress Fannie left her husband a year before, and an author's note explains that Fannie Kemble, who opposed slavery, married Pierce Butler not knowing that he owned slaves.

May 16 2005 | Read Full Review of Day of Tears: A Novel in Dial...

Common Sense Media

we did vocabulary on the book and we also did true or false quizes on the book it took us about 15 days to complete the book.Julis Lester did a great job on the book.

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Common Sense Media

if there was a book i had to choose to do a report on it would this book.

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Common Sense Media

Though it sometimes can be a bit confusing when read silently, the format makes the story very accessible to elementary-age children, as does the author's careful avoidance of the more sensational and lurid aspects of the story.

Feb 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Day of Tears: A Novel in Dial...

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