Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: Recommended Readalikes

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

Finished the book and hunting for more incredible titles to check out? Whether you’re looking for more historical gems or a deeper discussion on the topics, here are some great picks for young readers who want more:

  • The Dear America Series
    Young readers who enjoyed learning about the different customs and traditions of Cassie Logan’s 1930s America will be interested to read titles in the Dear America series, a multi-book exploration into various moments in time written in diary form by fictional children.
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft
    While not a historical retelling, Craft’s Newbery-winning graphic novel touches on many of the same themes of Taylor’s book, examining racism and inequality, and celebrating the love and sometimes complicated dynamics of family through the eyes of 12-year-old Black child named Jordan. Humorous and relatable, Jordan’s story will hold a lot of appeal for children who want to learn more about how some of the topics discussed in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry have resonance today.
  • Stamped (for kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You by adapted by Sonja Cherry-Paul, from Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
    Children who want to learn more about how Cassie’s story fits into the broader context of racism in America or are outraged and want to learn more about what they can do to take action may be interested in this non-fiction title. Written specifically for kids, this edition has shorter chapters and well-placed asides to provide additional context for the discussion.

And if you’re an older reader who wants to recapture some of the magic you felt when reading this book for the first time as a child, or interested in learning more, here are some books you may love:

  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Incredible as a stand-alone nonfiction or as a discussion companion to the kids’ edition, Reynolds takes you on a journey from the beginning to the present. Readers are encouraged to explore their feelings, and reflect on why the poison of racism lingers in every aspect of our lives.
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
    Just as the children in your life may be wanting to learn more about the history of racism in America and its reverberations today, you too may find yourself wanting to take a deeper dive. Alexander’s book has become a staple for learning about racism and inequality perpetuated by the modern carceral system, tying all the way back to the Jim Crow laws of Cassie Logan’s upbringing.
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
    A young Black babysitter in a privileged neighborhood in Philadelphia has her life turned upside down when someone films a racist encounter she has with a white security guard at a grocery store. She must deal with this while also navigating the upheaval and change that comes from being in your early 20s in the 21st Century. Readers who loved the social commentary and growing into your own identity elements of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry will enjoy this more modern title.

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped our childhoods. @PGCMLS