Book Cover Update: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

BookendsRoll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor Nelson coverCindy: While in Boston last month for the announcement of the 2016 Newbery Medal winner, we saw the gorgeous new cover art for the 1976 winner, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Taylor’s book is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and it’s doing so with a new birthday outfit: artwork by Kadir Nelson. Cassie Logan is one of my favorite children’s book characters, and I am delighted to have an excuse to buy new copies for our libraries to replace the battered editions that have been loved by many readers over the years.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor originalTo be honest, in my middle school, the once-familiar title has not been read by many of my incoming sixth graders—a fact revealed when I poll them during booktalks—and the original hardcover with Jerry Pinkney’s beautiful watercolor just doesn’t get any takers, despite my best efforts. It might be dear to those of us who grew up reading it in the original edition, but not so much with my students today.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor paperback coverThe paperback edition with Max Ginsburg’s illustration of the Logan children huddling in front of flames does a little better (and I’m glad they kept Pinkney’s Logan family frontispiece in that edition), but I expect this new cover will bring some new readers to this fine series. Roll of Thunder‘s new edition is available now and Nelson will be creating new art for each of the Logan Family Saga books, and Taylor’s entire backlist as well. Watch for those to roll out throughout the year. I can’t wait.

The back cover of the new edition also highlights a powerful quote from the book:

Quote from the back cover

Lynn: Even more exciting is the news that Mildred Taylor is working on a new, and final, title in the family saga. This one will be called Logan and is due out in 2017. Excerpts from the publisher’s press release, including comments from Taylor and Nelson, are available in this post on Bustle. The new edition also includes an author’s note from Taylor, an introduction by Jacqueline Woodson, and a full-color frontispiece of the Logan family by Kadir Nelson.

I’m so excited to see these new covers and to hear we have one more opportunity to spend time with the Logans. This series was a staple for me in my school-library days and looking back now, I’m struck by one of the reasons I loved it so much. I remember loving it because it wasn’t about slaves. So many of the books I could find about children of color were about slaves and this was about a regular girl. Sure, a girl with scary big issues, but a girl and a family just the same. It was that element that hooked readers and then opened their eyes to the injustices the family dealt with daily.

And here are a few more examples of past covers for Taylor’s beloved title.

Roll of Thunder collage 2



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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