cover image Seeing Red

Seeing Red

Kathryn Erskine. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-46440-6

In the aftermath of the civil rights movement, bigotry still permeates 1972 Stony Gap, Va., the hometown of 12-year-old Frederick “Red” Porter. Red’s father was a fair man up until the day he died, and now it’s Red’s duty to carry on his legacy. There are many wrongs Red would like to make right, like the way a neighbor, Mr. Dunlop, abuses his children. Red would also like to help an elderly African-American neighbor, Miss Georgia, whose family was cheated out of land a century ago. When Red’s mother decides they should move to Ohio, Red fears he won’t have time to correct these injustices the way his father would have wanted. Although the narrative makes heavy use of early 1970s pop culture references (especially TV shows) to build its setting, National Book Award winner Erskine (Mockingbird) offers powerful images of discrimination practiced in the South. She frankly explores the difficulty in fighting a corrupt system, but also stresses the difference one individual—even a child—can make, providing hope that justice can prevail. Ages 10–14. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Oct.)