Calkins Creek. (Bakers Mountain: Bk. 5). May 2021. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781684378135.
Gr 6 Up– Set in western North Carolina in 1959, the fifth book in the “Bakers Mountain” series explores racial inequality. When 13-year-old Jackie Honeycutt meets Thomas Freeman fishing by the river, Jackie hopes they can be friends. But their friendship won’t be easy, as Jackie is white and Thomas is Black. The civil rights movement is growing, and Jackie learns about racism and prejudice through bullying at school, the experiences of his college-aged sister Ellie as she participates in peaceful protests with her Black friend Maribelle, and the behavior of community members when his family helps Maribelle’s family. Historical details are easily intertwined with the Honeycutt family’s journey to understanding and combating injustices in a racially segregated society; characters build a bomb shelter, fearing the United States will be attacked by Russia, and participate in lunch-counter protests at Woolworth stores. An author’s note explains that the words Negro and colored are used throughout the story because those were the terms used by Americans at the time. The extensive notes also discuss the civil rights movement, the Cold War, and other elements such as 4-H that are important to the story. A list of resources completes the back matter.
VERDICT A comprehensive and engaging choice for historical fiction collections.

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