Cover image for The colors of the rain
Title:
The colors of the rain
Title:
The colors of the rain
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : Yellow Jacket, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing USA, [2018]
Physical Description:
368 pages ; 22 cm
Abstract:
"This historical middle grade novel written in free verse, set against the backdrop of the desegregation battles that took place in Houston, Texas, in 1972, is about a young boy and his family dealing with loss and the revelation of dark family secrets"--Amazon.com.

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Summary

Summary

This historical middle grade novel written in free verse, set against the backdrop of the desegregation battles that took place in Houston, Texas, in 1972, is about a young boy and his family dealing with loss and the revelation of dark family secrets.

Ten-year-old Paulie Sanders hates his name because it also belonged to his daddy-his daddy who killed a fellow white man and then crashed his car. With his mama unable to cope, Paulie and his sister, Charlie, move in with their Aunt Bee and attend a new elementary school. But it's 1972, and this new school puts them right in the middle of the Houston School District's war on desegregation.

Paulie soon begins to question everything. He hears his daddy's crime was a race-related one; he killed a white man defending a black man, and when Paulie starts picking fights with a black boy at school, he must face his reasons for doing so. When dark family secrets are revealed, the way forward for everyone will change the way Paulie thinks about family forever.

The Colors of the Rain is an authentic, heartbreaking portrait of loss and human connection during an era fraught with racial tension set in verse from debut author R. L. Toalson.


Author Notes

R. L. Toalson is an author, essayist, and poet who regularly contributes to adult and children's print and online publications around the world. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and six boys. The Colors of the Rain is her first novel. You can visit her online at rltoalson.com.


Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-Told in free verse and set against the roiling racial tension of 1972 Houston, this powerful story about family is an excellent example of something different being something better. Already dealing with emotional trauma from his violent, mentally ill father, 10-year-old Paulie Sanders's white world is further rocked when his father dies in a car accident. And is shot-three times. Unable to cope, Paulie's mother spirals into depression and alcoholism. Paulie's Aunt Bee, a mature, emotionally secure figure, steps in and up and offers an unconditional home for him and his sister. Confused, angry kids need a safe person and space to unravel their feelings, and Aunt Bee offers both to Paulie. He knows "love lives here/even in the secrets." He begins working through his anger, hurt, and pain by expressing himself through art. A school counselor, Aunt Bee, and a wise art teacher help Paulie process his emotions through art and counseling. They create something beautiful where only ugly reminders existed. As Paulie changes his outlook, his family also changes. Family secrets are confronted and revealed, and healing begins when they stop "holding heavy things inside." This novel touches on depression, mental illness, racial tension and violence, and interracial love with thoughtfulness and authenticity. VERDICT A strong addition to any middle grade collection in need of nuanced realistic fiction.-Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

In 1972, fifth-grader Paulie must face his father's death, his mother's absence, and his own anger in Toalson's heartrending historical novel in verse. When Paulie's grief-stricken mother can't take care of him and his sister anymore, they are sent to live with Aunt Bee. Aunt Bee's home is a haven, but school in Houston is not. Paulie's school is desegregated, which causes white families to protest. And when Paulie's grief and anger get the best of him, he starts bullying a black boy named Greg. However, Greg's own history, the guidance of supportive adults, and the revelation of family secrets force Paulie to address and overcome his worst impulses. Toalson's verse captures Paulie's overwhelming sadness and the deep scars that love and hate can leave on families. The characters are morally complex and realistically flawed, but nevertheless capable of wisdom, kindness, and love. A poignant look at how families are torn apart by personal and historical tragedies, and the ways they continue to endure.--Mariko Turk Copyright 2018 Booklist