Cover image for Osceola : memories of a sharecropper's daughter
Title:
Osceola : memories of a sharecropper's daughter
Author:
Mays, Osceola, 1909-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
63 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
A sharecropper's daughter describes her childhood in Texas in the early years of the twentieth century.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
800 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.7 1.0 39844.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 4 Quiz: 22100 Guided reading level: P.
ISBN:
9780786823574

9780786804078
Format :
Book

Available:*

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F392.H39 M35 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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Summary

Summary

A sharecropper's daughter describes her childhood in Texas in the early years of the twentieth century.


Summary

A poignant and powerful oral history, comprised of a patchwork of stories, songs, and poems, about the life and times of an African American sharecropper's daughter.


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-7. This slim volume contains the powerful transcribed oral history of an African American woman now in her nineties. Born in East Texas in 1909, Osceola Mays grew up under slavery's oppressive legacy: "We lived apart, separated from white folks in just about everything we did." Her grandmother had been a slave; her father was a sharecropper. Govenar offers Mays' story in her own words, culled from years of taped conversations, distilling moments from her early life history in brief, potent chapters: "How I Got My Name," "Learning about White Folks," "Juneteenth," "Freedom," "Fear," and finally "Growing Up and Moving On." The detailed horrors of slavery and segregation are made more devastating by Mays' conversational, matter-of-fact voice. Shane W. Evan's strong paintings of Mays and her daily life suggest both folk art and subversive modern art with their flat, broad strokes and slightly skewed perspectives. This is a valuable, deeply affecting addition to the history of this period, and it will give young readers insight into the roots of contemporary racism. --Gillian Engberg


Publisher's Weekly Review

Govenar here gathers the recollections of Osceola Mays, an African-American woman born in Texas in 1909, from interviews and conversations that he conducted with Mays over a period of 15 years. In brief one- and two-page sections, Mays's engrossing first-person voice recounts snippets from her early days. Especially strong are the vignettes that focus on specific moments, such as "How I Got My Name," in which Mays explains how she changed her name from Garnell (she was named after a neighboring white girl: "It was a carryover from slave days, when slaves were given the names of their masters") to Osceola after meeting an Indian by that name, and the bittersweet juxtaposition of "Santa Claus Night" with its immediate successor, "Mama Dies," in which Mays contrasts Christmas before and after the death of her mother. But if Govenar's editing retains the feel of oral history, it also lacks a sense of an overall story arc. As a result, the volume does not have the cumulative emotional impact of collected histories like Leon Walter Tillage's Leon's Story and Eloise Greenfield's Childtimes. Mays's warm, personable and pleasantly meandering manner emanates throughout the volume, and her history is well worth hearing. Newcomer Evans's framed portraits with skewed perspectives heighten the drama of each memory. The paintings of a grieving motherless Osceola facing away from readers as she looks through a seemingly quavering window frame, an illustration of her baptism and a portrait of her sharecropper father, dwarfed by the long rows he's plowed in a cotton field, are especially moving. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-7-Over a period of 15 years, Govenar talked with and recorded the reminiscences of Osceola Mays, now 91 and living in Dallas. He has selected and edited these recollections to form a thematically arranged look at rural life in East Texas, almost a century ago, from the viewpoint of an African-American girl. Bite-sized chapters (each less than 500 words) address such topics as her hometown, getting baptized, slavery, "Santa Claus Night," the death of her mother, and school. The narrative style reflects her Southern heritage, and the voice is that of a storyteller. The casual tone should draw in readers, especially as her memories will seem so foreign to most-a world with few cars, strict segregation, and sharecropping. Likewise, the tales that her neighbors shared with her of slavery personalize that great evil in a way that history books cannot, just as her recollections of family members and friends make it clear that emancipation did not mean equality. Nevertheless, the book's tone reflects that the woman's spirit is not weighed down by bitterness or anger; the text provides a rounded look at the society into which she was born. Evans's plentiful illustrations are brightly colored and naive, making them a sympathetic complement to the artless narration. Although easily read independently, the book-owing to the brevity of the chapters-also works well as a read-aloud.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-7. This slim volume contains the powerful transcribed oral history of an African American woman now in her nineties. Born in East Texas in 1909, Osceola Mays grew up under slavery's oppressive legacy: "We lived apart, separated from white folks in just about everything we did." Her grandmother had been a slave; her father was a sharecropper. Govenar offers Mays' story in her own words, culled from years of taped conversations, distilling moments from her early life history in brief, potent chapters: "How I Got My Name," "Learning about White Folks," "Juneteenth," "Freedom," "Fear," and finally "Growing Up and Moving On." The detailed horrors of slavery and segregation are made more devastating by Mays' conversational, matter-of-fact voice. Shane W. Evan's strong paintings of Mays and her daily life suggest both folk art and subversive modern art with their flat, broad strokes and slightly skewed perspectives. This is a valuable, deeply affecting addition to the history of this period, and it will give young readers insight into the roots of contemporary racism. --Gillian Engberg


Publisher's Weekly Review

Govenar here gathers the recollections of Osceola Mays, an African-American woman born in Texas in 1909, from interviews and conversations that he conducted with Mays over a period of 15 years. In brief one- and two-page sections, Mays's engrossing first-person voice recounts snippets from her early days. Especially strong are the vignettes that focus on specific moments, such as "How I Got My Name," in which Mays explains how she changed her name from Garnell (she was named after a neighboring white girl: "It was a carryover from slave days, when slaves were given the names of their masters") to Osceola after meeting an Indian by that name, and the bittersweet juxtaposition of "Santa Claus Night" with its immediate successor, "Mama Dies," in which Mays contrasts Christmas before and after the death of her mother. But if Govenar's editing retains the feel of oral history, it also lacks a sense of an overall story arc. As a result, the volume does not have the cumulative emotional impact of collected histories like Leon Walter Tillage's Leon's Story and Eloise Greenfield's Childtimes. Mays's warm, personable and pleasantly meandering manner emanates throughout the volume, and her history is well worth hearing. Newcomer Evans's framed portraits with skewed perspectives heighten the drama of each memory. The paintings of a grieving motherless Osceola facing away from readers as she looks through a seemingly quavering window frame, an illustration of her baptism and a portrait of her sharecropper father, dwarfed by the long rows he's plowed in a cotton field, are especially moving. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-7-Over a period of 15 years, Govenar talked with and recorded the reminiscences of Osceola Mays, now 91 and living in Dallas. He has selected and edited these recollections to form a thematically arranged look at rural life in East Texas, almost a century ago, from the viewpoint of an African-American girl. Bite-sized chapters (each less than 500 words) address such topics as her hometown, getting baptized, slavery, "Santa Claus Night," the death of her mother, and school. The narrative style reflects her Southern heritage, and the voice is that of a storyteller. The casual tone should draw in readers, especially as her memories will seem so foreign to most-a world with few cars, strict segregation, and sharecropping. Likewise, the tales that her neighbors shared with her of slavery personalize that great evil in a way that history books cannot, just as her recollections of family members and friends make it clear that emancipation did not mean equality. Nevertheless, the book's tone reflects that the woman's spirit is not weighed down by bitterness or anger; the text provides a rounded look at the society into which she was born. Evans's plentiful illustrations are brightly colored and naive, making them a sympathetic complement to the artless narration. Although easily read independently, the book-owing to the brevity of the chapters-also works well as a read-aloud.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.