The unsung hero of Birdsong, USA / Brenda Woods.

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  • Additional Information
    • Abstract:
      Summary: 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.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references.
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Booklist Reviews 2019 January #1

Gabriel Haberlin, 12, lives a kid-friendly life in post-WWII Birdsong, South Carolina, even getting a Schwinn for his birthday. But on his first ride, he's almost hit by a car. Fortunately, Meriwether Hunter pushes him out of the way. A friendship between the African American vet and Gabriel results in Hunter getting a job at the Haberlin gas station, but another employee, a rumored Klan member, starts looking to make trouble. There are many books that show segregation and its corrosive effects through the eyes of both white and black children, and in Gabriel's engaging first-person narrative, one can almost see the wheels turning as he realizes what life is like for Hunter and his family, especially after he learns the vet can't speak of his distinguished service due to white attitudes. The characters aren't always nuanced, but there is shading in actions as they try to uncomfortably fit into their society's mores. Gabriel's strong and questioning voice will have appeal for middle-graders, and the story will give them a history lesson as well. Grades 5-8. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.