It’s hard to be a “Black Sheep Baxter,” at least for 12-year-old Polly. From a poor white family, Polly’s best friend, Timbre Ann Biggs, is black, making them the only “salt-and-pepper” friends in town. But in that fall of 1959, life in quiet Holcolm County starts to heat up as one by one, thriving colored businesses burn to the ground. When someone throws a note wrapped around a brick through the window of Biggs Repair, Polly worries that Timber Ann will be blinded by the color of her skin and forget they were ever close. When a tragic fire brings everything to a head, the spotlight falls on Polly’s family. Sensitively painting a vivid portrait of the Jim Crow South, Polly’s inspiring story captures the defiant spirit of youth in an oppressive small town, just as the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement begin to sprout.
Reviews & Acknowledgements
“The tension—between the races, between the family members and ultimately between two friends—is palpable and builds to a suspenseful crescendo…The depiction of the historical times is realistic and gut wrenching, including the use of racial slurs. Readers will be drawn into the many characters in this story of friendship under challenging circumstances.” —VOYA
“The connection between the two girls and their families is beautifully described and believable, and the richness of the characters is apparent. The pacing of the story is deliberate and suspenseful with twists and turns that add to the bittersweet conclusion.” —School Library Journal