The Well

by Mildred D. Taylor

In her latest work of short fiction in the Logan family saga, Mildred Taylor moves... read more

In her latest work of short fiction in the Logan family saga, Mildred Taylor moves back a generation into the childhood of Cassie Logan's father in the early 1900s. Brothers David and Hammer Logan are seen on the brink of adolescence, trying to make sense out of a senseless social order based on race and class. During an extreme dry spell in Mississippi, nearly every family's well has run dry, except for that of the Logan family, which draws from and underground lake. The Logans willingly share their water with rich and poor, black and white. They even share with the Simms family, a bitter pill for the Logan boys to swallow since 13-year-old Hammer and 14-year-old Charlie Simms are bitter rivals. When an argument between the two young teens comes to blows and Hammer knocks Charlie to the ground, the situation escalates into a social crisis in which Charlie's racist attitude threatens to poison the entire community. With her spare account of a single event, Mildred Taylor's extremely accomplished storytelling shows the horrific impact of segregation and racism. Like the well itself, the story is deceptively simple and one can dip below its surface to find that each character's actions are drawn from an underground reservoir of social history. Winner, 1995 CCBC Newbery Award Discussion; Winner, 1995 CCBC Coretta Scott King Award Discussion: Writing (Ages 9-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1995

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