When Micheal asked what is my favorite middle grade historical fiction, it was an easy answer: Sounder by William H. Armstrong. The first book to make me cry (actual tears) as a kid. It won the Newberry Medal in 1970. I read the book in 5th grade and the story still affects me.
The Hook: The story follows a poor African American boy growing up in the South. His father is a sharecropper and struggling to provide for his family. The father and his dog, Sounder, go hunting every night but come home empty-handed until one morning the family wakes to the smell of ham. Unfortunately the father is arrested, convicted, and taken away from his family. The boy and a wounded Sounder try to find the father.
Why I loved it as a child: Growing up in California, I didn't really comprehend racism or the struggles of African Americans in the South. This book really opened my eyes to their hardships, inequalities, and illiteracy. Also I loved a bit with a dog. I cried when Sounder was shot, I cried when the dad and dog died.
Love this book. Not so much for reluctant readers but a book I think middle graders should all read.
Do you have a favorite MG historical fiction from your childhood?