McMullan, Margaret Sources of Light
Houghton Mifflin/Clarion/Graphia/Kingfisher 2010 233p 16.00
978-0-547-07659-1 hs Historical E-BN
Set in 1962 in Mississippi, Sam’s photography makes relatives, teachers and neighbors uneasy as she documents abuses during the civil rights movement. Powerful reading that captures the time period and conflicts perfectly. Grades 7-12.
A powerful novel about segregation and the civil rights movement in Mississippi in 1962. The plot races along with Samantha taking photos of everyday things that define Mississippi as well as events that are raising the ire of “true Southerners” that live in her neighborhood. Sam, given a camera by her mother’s friend, likes the idea that she can hide behind the camera and keep a low profile as she is introverted by nature. Little does she realize that the photos she takes as well as those that Perry takes will lead her into peril and cause her to become an activist. Weaving in the Vietnam War, the nuclear scare and bomb shelters, popular culture such as the Dinah Shore television show, saddle shoes, Bazooka bubblegum, and slumber parties with baby-doll pajamas, the reader becomes immersed in 1960’s culture as well as historical events. Those who did not want segregation do vile things to blacks as well as anyone who supports desegregation. The novel is not sugarcoated and the thoughts of both sides receive equal attention with Sam’s family values of respecting every human winning in the end. Captivating reading that will fit in to any curriculum unit on the 1960’s as well as courses in photography. Outstanding novel for grades 7-12. Strongly recommended for grades 7-12 for the depiction of the civil rights movement and culture of Mississippi in 1962. The reader feels the turmoil caused by beliefs on both sides of the segregation debate. Captivating reading. McNicol,Lois