Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shades of Gray” as Want to Read:
Shades of Gray
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shades of Gray

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  1,392 ratings  ·  122 reviews
At the end of the Civil War, twelve-year-old Will, having lost all his immediate family, reluctantly leaves his city home to live in the Virginia countryside with his aunt and the uncle he considers a "traitor" because he refused to take part in the war.
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published November 1st 1989 by MacMillan Publishing Company
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,086)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jun 23, 2009 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to booklady by: Reading Rainbow
I first learned about Shades of Gray thanks to Reading Rainbow, one of the few television shows I let my children watch when they were little--and mostly only so I could get good book tips. I first read it almost twenty years ago and it's still one of my favorite children's stories about the American Civil War. It can be read by most fifth graders and read to younger children.

The main character, orphaned Will Page has come to live with his mother's sister and uncle by marriage, who Will consider
Mary Harris
Citation: Shades of Gray, by Carolyn Reeder. (Aladdin Paperbacks, 1999). 152 p. Historical Fiction.
Genre: Junior Book- Historical Fiction
Summary: The setting of the book is the end of the Civil War. A young boy named Will Page is faced with the struggles of losing his family during the war and must move to live with relatives.
A. One of the best aspects of the book was the author’s use of period writing. By that I mean he used the sayings and language that people during the Civil War.
B. One of t
This exceptionally well-written book tells the story of William Page, a twelve year old boy who lost everyone in his immediate family during the Civil War. Will moves to rural Virginia to live with an aunt and her husband. In his new home Will experiences many new and exciting things yet he is angry at and rejecting of his uncle, a Southerner, who refused to fight for the South. Will expresses the many beliefs and attitudes of those Southerners who fought for that they believed was a just cause. ...more
Cheri Wiegman
Loved this book. It talks about many sides of the civil war that I didn't know about. It also has some great themes such as family, pride, bullying, and war. Great historical fiction for young adults.
Note there is no 50 in this title. This is a children's book about the post-American Civil War. It's well written, and full of insight into why men chose to go or not go to war. My 10 year old granddaughter, who lives in Virginia, recently read this book, and hopefully sometime we can discuss it together.

The main character is 12 year old Will. Will's older brother Charlie and his father were confederate soldiers killed in battles. Will's little sisters and mother's deaths were all indirectly ca
While a bit preachy & contrived at times, the characters in this book about the year following the end of the Civil War in rural Virginia feel real. We discover along with the main characters the variety of responses to the war on both sides.

I read this as part of Braeden's homeschool curriculum - we use Sonlight, which is literature-based.
Kendrick Goodman
I have absolutely loved reading the novel by Carolyn Reeder. Not only does it keep the children interested constantly there are also many places during the novel that the student can predict what is going to happen next. It is historically accurate to the Civil War era, and the reader is learning about this time period as they are simultaneously reading this novel. I have found that the fifth graders I am reading it with have no idea how much they are in fact learning about the Civil War and wha ...more
Apr 06, 2014 Connie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder is a Scot O'Dell Award winner for Historical Fiction. I read this book with my 6th graders when I taught history. It was a wonderful story that depicts 12-year-old Will Page during the Civil War and how the Yankees were responsible for the deaths of his parents, brother, and sister. He had to go and live with his Uncle Jed who refused to fight for the Confederate cause. Was he a coward or a traitor? The themes of death, grief, loss, family life, self-esteem, and ...more
Just like in the story Will didn't like Jed at first but then started to like Jed .I didn't like this book at first but I liked the ending!

the book should have been called shades of poop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A light read, but very enjoyable. I read it in almost one sitting. Although there is very little action, the story held my interest and kept me turning pages. I really loved the view point from which it was written. Although about a Virginian family,the author doesn't exactly take a side yet still discusses the bloodshed and hurt on and caused by both sides.
The characters were also very realistic and had strong personalities. Which I really liked. I love good characters and believe they are ess
Peace Ibe
The book, "Shades of Gray" by Carolyn Reeder is about the life and the lesson learned by a boy named Will Page. Will's father died in the Civil War, his brother died from getting shot by a Yankee soldier. Will's two sisters died from a disease and finally, the poor boy's mother died from grief. A family friend, named Doc Martin, informed Will that his mother left a note saying that if anything happened, Will would have to live with his aunt and uncle. Will's uncle was a man of strong beliefs, wh ...more
Over the summer I had to read three books and Shades of Gray was one of them. The story is about a boy named Will Page who is only 12 years old and he has already experienced his country go to war and the death of his family. He already has enough pain to deal with, but now he has to go and live with his aunt and uncle away from where he used to live in. The worst part is that he and his uncle have a major disagreement about the war. Wills father died fighting in the war defending their country. ...more
Katharine Ott
"Will sighed and tipped his hat so the brim shaded his eyes from the late afternoon sun." Will has been orphaned by the 1860s twin killers of war and disease, and travels north in Virginia to live with the family of his aunt and uncle. Ordinarily this would be a dismal prospect, as they live in much poorer circumstances than his family did in Winchester, but another problem looms large. "A man who'd refused to fight for the South was no family of his."

Will avoids saying "Uncle Jed" to this man w
Shades of Gray was a book that opened my eyes to a wider mind. It made me see the topic of our Summer Reading Essay clearly. It showed that your perspectives that you learn in your household in your upbringing can alter the way you look at other people greatly. Will Page is all for the Confederates and when his entire immediate family dies he has to live with his uncle in the country. You might think this is a blessing to him but Will Page is more than unwilling to go there just because his unc ...more
Matthew Piccione
This book is about a boy named Will Page who is forced to live with his cousin Meg, Aunt Ella, and Uncle Jed after his whole family is killed during the Civil War. In the beginning Will does not like Uncle Jed becuase he thought that his uncle was a coward for not fighting for the Confederate states in the Civil War. Over time though Will begins to realize that some good men were on both sides after him and his new family are visited by an Union soldier. The sodier leaves Will a book and was ni ...more
In the book Shades of Grey, William Page learns how to respect peoples' beliefs and to fight for what you believe is right from his role model, Uncle Jed. William Page is angry at his Uncle Jed because he thinks his uncle is a traitor. Uncle Jed makes Will realize that you must do what you think is right and fight for what you believe in. Uncle Jed felt there was no reason for him to fight in the war because he did not believe the war was just. At first Will did not understand this because his f ...more
I think that it was a great book because it's a realistic fiction story, taking place after the civil war.
Twelve year old Will is going to live with his Uncle Jed and his Aunt Ella, along with his cousin Meg. He knows he'll love his aunt and cousin, but is hateful of his uncle, who he supposedly thinks as a traitor, by helping the Yankees. He's distant from his uncle although he helps with the work on the farm.
When Will receives a letter from the Dr, who brings him to his aunt and uncle, sayi
Read this book with my oldest daughter. She had no interest in it because of the title or the cover. I read half the book out loud while on a trip. We returned home, and I did not pick up the book for a week. When I remembered, I asked her to read it with me, but she had already finished it. I asked her how she liked it. She really liked it because it has a satisfying ending.

This is a coming-of-age book. The young man in the book is eleven years old Virginian. He has lost his parents and siblin
Shades of Gray

1- Genre: Historical Fiction

2- Even though the Civil War is over tension still runs high. A young boy named Will must go live with his aunt and uncle in Southern Virginia because of the recent death of his mother. Will is not pleased about having to make the move away from his home in the Shenandoah Valley especially to live with his uncle that refused to go to war and fight the Yankees to protect the Confederate’s cause.

3- (a) Setting
(b) Throughout the story Will is conflicted wi
Amanda Howell
Junior Book Log: Fiction - Historical
Recommending Source: textbook pg. 210

It is the very end of the Civil War and Will has lost everyone that he cares about. He is a southern boy in his heart and he can not stand that the Confederates are loosing, and what's worse is that those Yankees killed all of his immediate family. Will is forces to move in with his aunt and uncle in the Piedmont region of Virginia, and he is not happy about it. He has never me them, he just wants his family back. And wors
Austin Bellant
By: Austin Bellant
I read the book “Shades of Gray” by Carolyn Reeder and it was about facing tough decisions and persevering through life itself. The book is about twelve year old Will Page who is born into the hardest life possible, a farm in Virginia during the Civil War. Will was left by himself after his Dad died in the war, his brother from a Yankee Soldier, his two sisters from a disease spread through Yankee camps, and his mother from grief. Will was enraged and deeply saddened at the sa
i think shades of gray was a good novel. i enjoyed reading during the spring break. this is the story of a 12 year old boy named Will page. the civil war had just ended. Will is left without a father so basically an orphan he has to move in with his relatives whom he has no idea how they are. to not give a lot away Will is showed to do work around the horse like trapping a rabbit and bringing it back for dinner. and building and then painting the fence. he realizes that his uncle did not fight i ...more
Paul Dunahoo
Why do kids, like myself, get so sick of reading Civil War-era books? Almost every single one is from the viewpoint of a Northerner of pacifist, and as a result, the plots get reused so many times that the books are no longer interesting. Shades of Grey is a trend-breaker, and it breaks all the trends very well. The main character of this story is a boy whose entire immediate family is dead, mostly due to the Union's military. The book is set in the reconstruction period, and it starts off with ...more

'I've faced enemies, too--the enemies of us all. Hunger. Grief. And hatred. But I've never faced my own countrymen as enemies. A man isn't my enemy just 'cause he believes different than I do.'

I'm not sure that I would have loved this book as much 15-20 years ago as I do today.. but with the US as politically divided as it is right now, a book that's about overcoming hatred of 'them' is very thought provoking and much needed.

Shades of Gray is a book about a young man named William Page who lives in the south during the period of Reconstruction. His entire family was taken by the Civil War, and the book starts off by showing that he is reluctant to move in with his Aunt Ella and Uncle Jed. This is because Uncle Jed, unlike Will's father, did not fight in the war, and did not lose anything the way Will did. The author created a mood of hatred, which showed the animosity between the two. As the book progresses though, ...more
On the prowl for young adult historical fiction: the protagonist is a 12 year old, so this book works well for 10 to 12 year olds. It's after the Civil War and the protagonist's uncle in Virginia had refused to participate. He is not a slave owner and on principle against war. The 12 year old boy who has lost his parents and siblings during the war must decide if his uncle is cowardly to courageous. Quite the dilemma for a 12 year old....
When I first picked up Shades Of Gray, I knew for a fact that it was taking place during the Civil war. The style and writing had a lot to offer from this book and were a lot of details to back everything up.If I had to write a one sentence summary on this book it would be,The book Shades Of Gray, is about a boy named Will Page whos family died because of the Yankees(not the sports team Yankees)and now has to live with their relatives in Winchester, but can't because of the fact that his uncle J ...more
Thomas Quinn
I had to read this book as one of my summer reading books. At first I thought it was going to be bad but it turned out to be a good book. The author writing style was very interesting it wasn't hard to understand what he was trying to say. It was very easy to understand and it was very interesting. I would recomend this book to anyone who lost their family members because it shows not to let a loss family or a loved one mold a perception of others and the world around you. I have read books sort ...more
Joelle Ashton
As soon as I analyzed the front cover , I saw the surroundings. It looked like their were plantations and when I read the back it had something to do with the Civil War. So then my instant thought was " Man, this is going to be a hisorty lesson." However, the book said otherwise. This book discusses the afterlife of William. William has to go through the death of his family because of the war. Also, how he let ignorance and immaturity rule his relationship between his Uncle Jed. His uncle refuse ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 69 70 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Turn Homeward, Hannalee
  • The Great Turkey Walk
  • George Washington Carver: Man's Slave Becomes God's Scientist (Sower Series)
  • A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt
  • The Perilous Road
  • The Terrible Wave: Memorial Edition
  • Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman
  • Skippack School
  • The Wright Brothers
  • By the Great Horn Spoon!
  • The Great Wheel
  • Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule
  • Moccasin Trail
  • The Winged Watchman (Living History Library)
  • Toliver's Secret
  • Pocahontas And The Strangers
  • Bull Run
  • Plain Girl
Moonshiner's Son Foster's War Grandpa's Mountain Across the Lines Captain Kate

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »