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The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA

af Brenda Woods

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683308,571 (4.13)Ingen
Gabriel, twelve, gains new perspective when he becomes friends with Meriwether, a Black World War II hero who has recently returned to the unwelcoming Jim Crow South.
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A very good middle school read about life in the Jim Crow South, following WWII. A young white boy growing up in a progressive, educated home (with parents educated at Oberlin College) turns 12, and is almost killed riding his new bicycle, but is saved by the quick action of a black handyman named Meriwether. The two strike us a friendship, resulting in Meriwether getting hired at the boy's father's gas station when a mechanic leaves for a woman. The other mechanic is most displeased, and may belong to the local KKK chapter. Turns out Meriwether is one of the many blacks who returned from WWII having served in the military with distinction only to find out they were still second class citizens. When things go south [pun] for Meriwether and his family, they get enough help to avoid a serious problem. Hopeful book about the future of race relations. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Strong, authentic voices from all characters. The friendship between Gabriel and Meriwether is lovingly drawn and epitomizes the epigraph by Rabindranath Tagore that "Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance" and I would add, on age difference. As an adult reader, I learned more about the Jim Crow South, the 371st Tank Battalion, and the deplorable treatment of African-Americans, though the story and content are well-suited to the middle-grade audience, too. Includes an Afterword and Bibliography. Highly recommended. I look forward to reading more books by Brenda Woods. ( )
  bookwren | Feb 27, 2021 |
In a small town outside Charleston SC, Gabriel celebrates his 12th birthday with a new Schwinn Autocycle Deluxe bicycle. He almost gets hit by Mrs. Betty Babcock but Meriwether Hunter saves his life. Meriwether is a black gentleman looking for work; mentions a skill working with engines. When Daddy loses an employee, Gabriel gets the idea of Meriwether working for Daddy. Told in a folksy voice. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Mar 26, 2020 |
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Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.

-Rabindranath Tagore
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Dedicated to the memory of the heroic men of the 761st Tank Battalion
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One funny thing about life and all the stuff that happens while you're living it is that mostly you only see it through your own eyes, that is, unless you decide to try to see things through the eyes of someone else.
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Gabriel, twelve, gains new perspective when he becomes friends with Meriwether, a Black World War II hero who has recently returned to the unwelcoming Jim Crow South.

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