This historical fiction series, shaped by Mildred D. Taylor’s family stories, is a multigenerational chronicle of the Logan family’s life spanning from the Jim Crow south and the Great Depression through the Great Migration and the Civil Rights movement in the north.
Though Song of the Trees is the first in the series, Taylor was awarded the Newberry Medal for Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. In this story come to know Cassie, age 9, and her brothers Stacey (12), Christopher-John (7), and Little Man (6). Each novel/novella stands alone, focusing on different members of the Logan family during different times and places over a span of about 100 years. But Cassie and her siblings are at the heart of the Logan’s story and feature prominently in Taylor’s final novel—All the Days Past, All the Days to Come—published in 2020.
I first discovered the Logan family about 5 years ago when I listened to the audiobook version of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Taylor’s writing brings you right into the home, the conversation, the fear, tension, courage, and heartache experienced by this family. Her books use language that is true to the time, including the racial slurs and physical abuse of landowners against sharecroppers. She doesn’t shy from exploring the complex feelings of a son toward his mother, who had been enslaved, and his father her enslaver. Taylor’s books have come under recent criticism and have been banned from some libraries for painting an accurate picture of the suffering endured by Black families during these periods of our history.
With Jubilee as this year’s theme, I recommend adults check out The Land—the first in the series if read chronologically. In the year of Jubilee landowners who have lost their land are restored to it. This book sheds light on the significance of land in the struggle for freedom in the USA. This story is a powerful example of one of the ways racism impacted who could lay claim to land, and who could not. The racial disparity of access to land and all the economic benefits of owning land persist today. The impact is felt within our own congregation as landowners (landlords) have the power to extend leases or not, raise rent or not, sell the land or not—while families without land must pay the cost without achieving interest or long-term stability.
The Land, and all the books in this series, are filled with injustice, pain, struggle, hope, and triumph with characters who will shape you. I recommend the audiobook version!
The chronological order of the series from bookseriesinorder.com/mildred-d-taylor:
|The Land||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Well||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Song of the Trees||(1975)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry||(1975)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Mississippi Bridge||(1990)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Let the Circle Be Unbroken||(1981)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Friendship||(1987)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Road to Memphis||(1992)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Gold Cadillac||(1987)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|All the Days Past, All the Days to Come||(2020)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|