3.77 (316 ratings by Goodreads)
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There are times when a tree can no longer withstand the pain inflicted on it, and the wind will take pity on that tree and topple it over in a mighty storm. All the other trees who witnessed the evil look down upon the fallen tree with envy. They pray for the day when a wind will end their suffering.

I pray for the day when God will end mine.

In a time and place without moral conscience, fourteen-year-old Ansel knows what is right and what is true.

But it is dangerous to choose honesty, and so he chooses silence.

Now an innocent man is dead, and Ansel feels the burden of his decision. He must also bear the pain of losing a friend, his family, and the love of a lifetime.

Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honoree Julius Lester delivers a haunting and poignant novel about what happens when one group of people takes away the humanity of another.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 129 pages
  • 132.08 x 182.88 x 22.86mm | 226.8g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0061558907
  • 9780061558900
  • 940,508

Rating details

316 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 29% (92)
4 35% (112)
3 25% (78)
2 6% (18)
1 5% (16)

Our customer reviews

There was a dark time in the history of the United States when even the best-intentioned people bore silent witness to the atrocities that were being committed by others. A time in which a person had to chose between honesty and personal safety. It is Tuesday afternoon, a hot summer day in 1946. By Friday night a crime will have been committed, two people will be dead, and fourteen-year-old Ansel Anderson will be forever tormented by the events of that night and those that followed. Ansel lives in Davis, a small town deep in the South. The town was named after the most wealthy and influential family in the area, the family now headed by Zeph Davis. Cap'n Davis has a way of employing his "negroes" in such a way that they remain in debt to him, a legal form of slavery. Everyone in Davis knows the rules of the social order. Black people are expected to address all whites - even the children - as "ma'am" or "sir", they are to move from the sidewalk when a white person is coming, and they are to always be congenial. Even Ansel's best friend, Willie, addresses him as Mister Ansel. Ansel works in his father's store, along with Willie. Bert Anderson is preparing Ansel to take over the store someday, and to be a successful store owner he knows that Ansel has to start considering who he spends time with and what the other people in town think of him. His mother Maureen feels differently. She doesn't like the way the townspeople act and doesn't want her son to grow up with such narrow-minded influences. She has bigger dreams for Ansel, and, along with Esther Davis, Cap'n Davis's sister, she plants the seeds for Ansel to dream of a future beyond Davis. An unfortunate storm is brewing in Davis. Entitlement and anger are swelling in Zeph Davis the Third, the teenage son of Cap'n Davis. But who would believe that the son of a wealthy white man could commit such a heinous act as rape and murder when there was a negroe at the scene of the crime? And even if they do believe, will anyone take the risk of speaking out? GUARDIAN is an amazingly well-crafted story that grabs your attention and your heart from the very beginning. Author Julius Lester has a way of pulling you along in such a way that you can feel the intensity building with every word until the explosive finale. There is no sugar-coating to this story; it is real and it is raw and borne from a very sad reality in our world. If you can read and pass along one book this year, let it be GUARDIAN. *Gold Star Award Winner!show more
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