Can one person make a difference in this world? Can one kid? If you are twelve-year-old Red Porter, you can. It may take you a while to understand that in 1970’s Virginia all it takes is one person to make a stand. Soon others will stand with you and change can be enacted.
From grieving his father’s death, to defending the girl that just might be capturing his heart, to finding himself in a compromising situation that almost gets his best friend killed, Red learns that being a man and making a man’s decisions are hard, harder than he ever thought. And for that, he counts on the guidance of his father’s voice saying, “I hear ya, son.”
So many times Red listens for his father’s voice, but he soon realizes he has to find his own path to becoming a man. To do that he must stand up to his mother, protect his little brother, lament the loss of his best friend, and find something most important to an old woman, whose African American family had their property stolen over one hundred years ago. The trouble is. Red has no idea the thief was closer to him than he could ever imagine.
Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine portrays the racial conflicts of the seventies in this wonderfully written historical fiction novel for middle grade readers. Poignant, positive, and passionate, Red Porter will capture your heart. As a former teacher, I highly recommend this book. It can be used as a discussion starter or supplemental reading for a social studies unit.