Mildred D. Taylor’s book Mississippi Bridge is that rare sort that delves into social strife in the 1960s by pure characterization. This heart-rending story of inequality is narrated by Jeremy Simms, a white boy, who feels more in sync with Josias Williams and the Logans, who are black, than he does with his bigoted father and brothers.
The tension mounts throughout the book and ends with a sad forward motion that is often reserved for adult novels. This is a great opportunity to discuss happy endings versus open endings. Why did the author leave the ending like this? What happens next? This is a great book to use for predictions and demonstrate conventions and dialogue. Thematically, it reaches history, racism, injustice, unspoken rules, friendship and emergencies. I love to read this one aloud at least once before rereading and diving into the issues.