Teen Book Reviews

Northeast Library

Teen Book Reviews

by Brandon Digwood

Day of TearsIf you’re looking for a book that covers black history, biography and drama, then look no further than Day of Tears by the renowned author Julius Lester.  If you want to know more, read the review below:

Day of Tears is a novel told in dialogue. It is based on the largest U.S. slave auction in history.  Pierce Butler is a Southern plantation owner with many slaves, and also a lot of gambling debts. To settle the debts, he sells off almost all his slaves in a huge three-day auction. This auction wrenches families apart and destroys the fabric of life on his plantation, especially when he sells Emma, the slave who takes care of his children, despite promising her parents (whom he grew up with) that he never would. Nature itself seems to show its sorrow: during the entire three-day auction, it rains nonstop. 

In addition to the scenes that make up the bulk of the novel, readers gain further information about the characters after each dramatic moment. Lester provides perspectives from all of the major characters of these events, both black and white, giving a comprehensive picture of a difficult time in America’s history. The research that Lester did to fictionalize this historical event is mentioned in the back of the book, with sources provided, making this novel a great book to use for studying slavery.

Day of Tears is recommended for late tween and early teen readers.  Check out this breathtaking book at Northeast and other branches of the DC Public Library.