Tag Archives: Race

Down-to-Read with Daniela: They Called Themselves the K.K.K.

Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Age Group:
Marketed to children but appropriate for all ages.

Non-Fiction, American History, Black History, Race

Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of the Year for Nonfiction (2010), YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Nominee (2011)

In this new non-fiction work, Bartoletti takes readers back to the origins of the infamous Ku Klux Klan. Beginning with the Civil War, the abolition of slavery and concluding with the Reconstruction period, she provides readers with an in depth account of the motivations and ideologies behind the virulent and racist hate group.

Founded by a handful of white Southern men, the Klan soon grew to accommodate thousands of followers who lead a campaign to terrorize and undermine black Americans in the years following the Civil War. As blacks fought for the vote and their independence, they lived each day in fear of white insurrection. But determined to establish themselves and provide for their families, they stood strong against the intimidating Klan. Soon laws were enacted to protect blacks, but America would never fully eliminate the Klan’s presence.

My Thoughts:
What an interesting and unique topic for a children’s book! I learned a lot about American history reading this book. At the same time, it was a challenge to read. The language is highly sophisticated. Historical documents are written in old English which also proves to be difficult to interpret.

Even the most advanced child would probably have some difficulty with this book. As such I would recommend it more as a research aid than a leisure read. But nonetheless a fascinating topic that sheds light on the origins of race relations in America.

Borrow They Called Themselves the K.K.K. from your local Vaughan library!