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Shades of Gray

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  1,786 Ratings  ·  139 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
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Jun 23, 2009 booklady rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nov 25, 2012 Mary Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 17, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My daughter is reading this for 5th grade ELA, and I think it's so timely with the election and racism, sexism, civil rights in the news today. Being around people with beliefs that differ from your own is a good thing. I love how Will has his beliefs changed from all his experiences. Good lessons all around.
Nov 10, 2010 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-library
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.
Cheri Wiegman
Jul 26, 2014 Cheri Wiegman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Angela Watts
Oct 27, 2016 Angela Watts rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could see the author was trying to show that both sides of the war had their reasons, and everyone was human... But I found the book rather annoying.
Mar 06, 2013 Kayleigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!

Jul 17, 2009 Reilly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
the book should have been called shades of poop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
An excellent book for young readers dealing with the aftermath of the Civil War through the eyes of a 12 YO boy named William Page. My own boys became so involved in the lIves of these characters that they asked if there was a sequel! However, I thought it ended just as it should, and we had great discussions throughout about dealing with hardships, honesty, pride, and courage in the face of adversity. A 4th-5th grader could read it on his own; made a good read aloud for younger students.
Jan 06, 2017 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
12-year-old Will Page from Virginia is left an orphan after the Civil War and is deeply embittered against the northern Yankees. Once he moves in with his Aunt and Uncle, however, he learns that Yankees are no different at heart than Confederates--and that there are also good men who chose not to fight at all.
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
Nov 25, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2013 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Austin Bellant
Nov 21, 2013 Austin Bellant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Patricia Kidder
Dec 11, 2016 Patricia Kidder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read. Set during the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, Shades of Gray is the tale of a conscientious objector and his nephew, the son of a Confederate General. They have many conflicts and many chances to influence each other lives. Some good moral issues come to light through a page-turning plot. Good character development & plot. Highly recommended.
Oct 30, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 25, 2009 Anniesa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 29, 2015 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2009 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 02, 2013 Marisol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-2013
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
Oct 08, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 05, 2009 Thomas Quinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Story Revolution

The Civil War may be over, but for twelve-year-old Will Page, the pain and bitterness haven't ended. How could they have, when the Yankees were responsible for the deaths of everyone in his entire immediate family?

And now Will has to leave his comfortable home in the Shenandoah Valley and live with relatives he has never met, people struggling to eke out a living on their farm in the war-torn Virginia Piedmont. But the worst of it is that Will's uncle Jed had refused to f

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
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