The Book Reviews – Website

January 17, 2009

Leon’s Story

Leon’s Story

Author: Leon Tillage

Page Length: 107

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Autobiography       

PLOT SUMMARY: This is Leon Tillage’s story of his life, as he remembers it from 1936 in North Carolina.  Leon’s family lived on a farm where his dad was a sharecropper.  This was a time when African American children began school at the age of six, but the school was not integrated and the supplies and facilities were not near as nice as what was provided for the white children of the community. 

This lifestyle of being discriminated against is the life that Leon remembers.  His parent’s didn’t question the way they were treated.  Jim Crow laws were in effect and if the black family did not abide by them the KKK would visit them.

After some drunken teenagers killed Leon’s dad and Martin Luther King Jr. visited Leon’s school, Leon became a part of the Civil Rights Movement against his mother’s wishes.  Leon could no longer accept the treatment and injustices that were being dealt to the members of the black community in the southern United States.  

REVIEW: This was a touching book as it was written in the dialogue in which Leon Tillage told it.  Leon is a custodian in an elementary school today.  This autobiography was written because of the story Leon shared with some third grade elementary students of that school.  The book exposes the cruelty of racism after the Civil War and prior to the Civil Rights Movement.  It shows the strength and courage that African Americans of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s endured to survive.

AREAS OF TEACHING: Setting, Character, Point of View, Compare/Contrast, and Historical Context

RELATED BOOKS: Roll of Thunder; Hear My Cry, Rosa Parks, Mississippi Morning


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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