If you liked To Kill a Mockingbird–this year’s Read Across Lawrence selection–you might also like these novels.
- The Bottoms
by Joe R. Lansdale
Lansdale’s widely praised homage to To Kill a Mockingbird is part bittersweet coming-of-age story and part white-knuckled murder mystery. From a distance of seventy years, Harry Crane looks back on his youth in Depression-era East Texas, spinning a tale of race, murder, and a small town sheriff trying to do the right thing.
by Dori Sanders
Like Lee’s Scout, Sanders’ young narrator Clover Hill is simultaneously innocent and wise beyond her years. When her father dies tragically on his wedding day, Clover—ten years old and black—begins living with a white stepmother she barely knows. Set in South Carolina in the 1980s, Clover is a touching, heartfelt story of a child coming to terms with grief and change.
- Cold Sassy Tree
by Olive Ann Burns
This exuberant, quirky, crowd-pleaser of a novel is set in Cold Sassy, Georgia in 1906. Burn’s young narrator Will Tweedy tells the story of his grandfather’s scandalous second marriage to a much younger woman, and has plenty of adventures of his own.
- Cry, the Beloved Country
by Alan Paton
First published in 1947, Cry, the Beloved Country put a human face of the injustices of apartheid, became an international bestseller, and was hailed by critics as an instant classic. The beauty of Paton’s novel–the story of a Zulu priest who travels to Johannesburg to find his missing family–hasn’t diminished with time.
- A Lesson Before Dying
by Ernest J. Gaines
In 1940s rural Louisiana, a young, uneducated black man is sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. Wanting him to die with dignity, his godmother convinces a local black school teacher to educate him. Gaines’ award-winning novel tells the simple but rich and moving story of the lessons both men teach each other as their relationship deepens.
by Hillary Jordan
In 1946, Laura McAllan reluctantly moves to the Mississippi Delta after her husband purchases a farm. Narrated by six distinctive voices, Mudbound is an emotional but expertly rendered portrait of a particular place and time, and a poignant reminder of the toll of blind racism.
- My Last Days as Roy Rogers
by Pat Cunningham Devoto
The summer of 1954 in Bainbridge, Alabama is a season of high adventure and, ultimately, sobering drama for ten-year-old tomboy Tab and her best friend Maudie. Warm, humorous, and entertaining, Devoto’s debut is a knowing but loving portrait of the 1950s south.
- The Queen of Palmyra
by Minrose Gwin
It is 1963 and Florence Forrest, the child of an abusive father and an alcoholic mother, spends most of her days shuttled back and forth between the home of her grandparents and the home of Zenie, their black housekeeper. The Queen of Palmyra is an atmospheric, spellbinding story the tragedies wrought by racism.
- Right as Rain
by Bev Marshall
Full of humor, but also heartbreak, Right as Rain spans two decades in the intertwined lives of three families–two black and one white–in Zebulon, Mississippi. With intimately and vividly drawn characters, Marshall takes on the complexities of race in the South before and during the civil rights movement.
- The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
In Kidd’s much loved novel about the remarkable bonds between women, Lily and Rosaleen are taken in by three eccentric, bee-keeping sisters, after escaping from an abusive father and racist local policemen in 1960s South Carolina. The Secret Life of Bees is a vivid, hopeful story of the power of love.
- Snow in August
by Pete Hamill
Micheal Devlin, twelve-years-old and an Irish Catholic altar boy, develops an unlikely relationship with an aging rabbi who, in exchange for lessons about baseball and English, teaches him Yiddish and tells him stories about his life in Prague. Snow in August is an endearing tale of growing up and accepting others, and astrong evocation of 1940s Brooklyn.
- The Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town
by Jacqueline Guidry
In rural Louisiana in 1957, the arrival of two black nuns to teach at an all-white Catholic elementary school sends shockwaves through the community. It also teaches Guidry’s wide-eyed and precocious ten-year-old narrator some painful, and sometimes complicated, lessons about the results of racism.
- Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine
by Bebe Moore Campbell
A racially-motivated beating in rural pre-civil rights era Mississippi echoes through the generations in Campbell’s poignant, poetic saga of family and race. Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine was compared favorably to the work of Harper Lee, Alice Walker, and Flannery O’Connor.