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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  312 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
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 mora
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Amistad
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Jun 29, 2008 Tasha rated it it was amazing
This is a gripping, striking novel of lynching told from the point of view of a white teen boy who witnesses the hate crime. It is the summer of 1946 and Ansel is fourteen years old. He is the son of the store owner in a small town in the Deep South. One of his best friends is Willie. Though they fish together often, there is always an awareness of their differences solely because of the color of their skin. Ansel is also in love with Mary Susan, daughter of the local pastor, who fairly glows wi ...more
Sep 12, 2013 Morgan rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, african-american
This was a pretty horrifying look at lynchings and race relations in the south in 1946, when a young white boy, Ansel, and his friend Little Willie must deal with and are directly confronted with racism at every turn. Ansel, his mother, and mother's friend Esther Davis are sympathetic whites who strongly disagree with the town's views of race--that is, perpetrating the view that blacks are inferior beings, need to be kept in their place, etc. What is horrifying is the character of Zeph Davis III ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by JodiG. for

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 nigh
May 28, 2012 A_Esther rated it really liked it
Guardian is a gritty tale of a lynching told primarily from the perspective of a young white spectator. Readers meet fourteen year old Ansel Anderson and his Negro friend, Little Willie, as they get permission from Mr. Anderson, the town’s storekeeper, to suspend their work duties and go fishing at a nearby creek; this is a Tuesday afternoon in the summer of 1946. By Friday, the whole town stands by in a party-like atmosphere as they prepare to lynch Big Willie (Little Willie’s father) for the r ...more
Sep 16, 2008 Anina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen

On the back it says "Not since To Kill a Mockingbird has there been a more haunting and poignant novel about what happens when a group of people deny human rights to others." And it's not a quote...that's the publisher's blurb. And I was can't just go around claiming things like that. But I thoguht it lived up to the quote.

An intense story about lynching told from the perspectives of the members of the small town where the crime takes place. From the beginning the whole setting is des
Jan 29, 2012 Jean rated it it was amazing
Excellently written, though heartbreakingly painful. The story rings true and the characters are very believable. I don't believe I've read any book by Julius Lester. Must check out some of this other fares because this one is primo.
Jun 19, 2009 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-2009
From the start the story is very racism which dose not bother me. yjrow out the story there is a lot of hating and cowardice while pulled me as a reader to the book. Julius Lester is a good writing, he really makes you think "what would I do in this situation?" in enjoyed this book
Jun 25, 2008 Jonathan rated it really liked it
In DAY OF TEARS Lester laid bare the painful legacy of slavery and now in GUARDIAN he turns his attention to lynching with equally devastating effect. A small book with a big punch.
Monica Edinger
Jun 25, 2008 Monica Edinger rated it really liked it
This was powerful, but oh so painful to read. I found it much, much, much harder to do than Day of Tears. Understandably, because it is about a lynching.
Carol Baldwin
A short but immensely powerful book, Guardian portrays a lynching as seen from the viewpoint of several characters most intimately effected by the man's murder. Here are seven of these characters:

Ansel Anderson- a 14-year-old white boy living in a small town in the south in 1946.

Bert Anderson- Ansel's father who operates Anderson General Store and helped Big Willie get his job.

Maureen Anderson- Ansel's mother.

Little Willie Benton- Ansel's black fishing buddy who works with Ansel at the General S
Mar 06, 2017 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Okay, so, first of all? This book is about a lynching. You need to know that right off the bat. The second thing you need to know is that it's about a white boy's experience of a lynching.

Specifically, it's about Ansel Anderson, who has to watch as his black friend Little Willie's father is lynched for a rape and murder committed by Zeph Davis III, grandson of the town's founder. Worse, Ansel and his father know that Big Willie saw the crime committed, and they saw the immediate aftermath.

Angie Fehl
Jun 20, 2016 Angie Fehl rated it really liked it
Fourteen year old Ansel is growing up in the small town of Davis, Georgia in 1946. He spends most days working in his family's general mercantile store. When he is given some free time, he prefers to roam in the woods around town with his best friend, Willie. Willie works as a stockroom employee for Ansel's father Bert. This friendship has a pivotal role in the story, as Bert is a bit of a white supremacist, and Willie is black. Ansel's mother Maureen is the complete opposite, actually growing q ...more
Aug 25, 2009 Rose rated it liked it
No one loves Neil Gaiman’s dark little fairy tale Coraline more than I do. The ageless Miss Jones, with her classic kiddy curiosity and British sass, gives Lewis Carroll’s Alice a run for her money. Plus there is something romantic and enduring about Gaiman’s 10-year saga to write her story; he began writing Coraline years before beginning his acclaimed Neverwhere, published in 1996, as he says, writing quietly and observing.

Of course, Henry Selick’s film adaptation had problems for me; Coraline
Aug 08, 2010 Hattie rated it it was amazing
Guardian by Julius Lester
"Guardian" by Julius Lester is a powerful book. Julius Lester is a Newberry Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner. After reading this book I am not surprised he is an award winning author. "Guardian" is an emotional, unforgettable and painful story about life in a Southern town named Davis in 1946. Because the story is full of racial tension I would recommend this book for older teens; However, librarians might differ with me. I loved this book because it is about
to sum up the book I'm gonna use two quotes from it:
"While the subject matter is lynching, on a deeper level, this novel is about identity. Whom and what we identify ourselves with determines our characters, determines who we are, and what we do."
~Julius Lester

"....the racial divides in the United States will not be overcome until lynchings of all kinds are as painful to nonblacks as they are to blacks, until each of us become guardians of the sufferings history has bequeathed us."
~Julius Lest
Kenzie Keppner
Jul 10, 2012 Kenzie Keppner rated it liked it
Shelves: eng-356
I thought this book was very good. It was all about the lynchings that happened in the South and it was very informative. One thing I did notice about this book, is that pretty much every white guy was a pig. It was just disgusting and I wanted to just slap all of them. I can't believe stuff like this actually happened and it just blows my mind how badly black people were mistreated. It also gives a look into how perverted and sick some men are. Not only were black people mistreated, but a lot o ...more
Jun 19, 2009 Brenda rated it really liked it
This is a historical fiction book based in a small Southern town in 1946. A young black teenager is accused, wrongly, of attempting to rape and the murder a white girl and is lynched for his crimes. It is also the story of Ansel, a fourteen-year-old white boy who knows the truth but is too scared to speak up.

This book surprised me in two different ways. First, the story was so engrossing which took me back a little. I read the book flap and wasn't all that interested in reading yet another hist
May 07, 2010 P rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults and Young Adults would like this book: Teachers, parents, intellectuals and spiritualists.
Recommended to P by: A Public School Librarian
Set in 1946 in a Southern town called Davis – named for its wealthy slaveholding founders and their kin who still remain in complete control of the town - this is the story of 14-year old Ansel’s coming of age as he witnesses a racial hate crime against his boyhood friend’s father who is charged with a crime that he did not commit. Yet Ansel’s father encourages him to deny the truth. Ansel’s observations encompass the victim, the victim’s family and the local townspeople’s reactions to the event ...more
Aug 30, 2011 Mare rated it really liked it
This short story was very moving. Ansel is a 14 yr old growing up in rural Atlanta in a very racial town named Davis in 1946. He’s the son of the local general store owner who tries to make everyone happy and acts just right so as not to ruffle anyone’s feathers. Ansel is a good kid. He has a crush on the pastors daughter Mary Susan, he has a caring mother, who hates the racism of the town, and a close friend, Little Willie…who happens to be black. Bert his father isn’t happy about it but Ms. Da ...more
May 01, 2009 Allison rated it really liked it
This is not an easy book to read. In a small southern town in 1946, racism runs rampant and lynchings are not uncommon. Ansel's Dad hires a young black boy to help out at the store and to his father's horror, Ansel and Willie become friends. Esther Davis, an older white woman, despises the backwards thinking of the white folks in her small, dead town and has the money to make miracles happen for a few. When Big Willie, Willie's Dad is accused of the unthinkable, the community ignores those who a ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What a powerful novel! Lester writes here about the lynching of a black man in post-WWII Alabama, as told from the point of view of a white boy. I've never read a novel where the Jim Crow South was depicted so vividly. It wasn't easy to be black then, having to watch every word and everything you did, for fear of being seen as "uppity." And, if you were white and not racist, it was just as difficult to survive in a society that could cut you off from itself for being a "nigger lover." I just don ...more
Feb 26, 2009 Josiah rated it really liked it
"Being a failure at living your own life as best as you can is better than being a success living the life somebody else says you should live". --Maureen, "Guardian", P. 68

This book is just about as haunting and masterfully beautiful as a book can be, especially considering its brevity. The images and the powerful lessons brought forth for me from these pages surely will last a lifetime. The consequences wrought when people agree by consensus that it is okay to take away the personhood of any
Kate Watson
Dec 10, 2012 Kate Watson rated it did not like it
Shelves: 13-25
Ansel and Little Willie have grown up together. Ansel is a white teenager, and Little Willie is an African-American teen. They both work together in the shop owned by Ansel’s father, Bert. Their lives seem laid out for them, and they do not question their paths. Then one day, Little Willie’s father is accused of raping and murdering the town sweetheart, Mary Susan. The real culprit, Zeph, is let off because he is white. This turns everything upside down, and things will never quite be the same a ...more
Nov 13, 2008 Angie rated it really liked it
This is book gives an insightful look at lynching in the south from the perspective of a white teenager. It also causes the reader to think about keeping silent when you know an injustice has occurred. Holding back the truth is just as harmful as committing the injustice. I would recommend this book for young people and adults as well. I was surprised that lynchings were treated like a sporting event in most cases. We have come a long way as a nation, but we yet have a ways to go. In this day we ...more
Feb 17, 2009 P. rated it it was ok
Shelves: yyay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2009 Suzy rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
Fourteen year old Ansel Anderson is growing up in the Deep South in the 1940's. He works at his father's store, and is expected to take over his father's business. The story began slowly for me, but once I got started reading, the book became more compelling. At the end of the book, the author explains his perspective, as a black man, born in 1939. He grew up with an awareness that lynching could be his fate as a black man. He writes the book from the perspective of a white boy, and explores the ...more
Oct 21, 2016 Clare rated it really liked it
In few but powerful words this books manages to show the horrendous devastation lynching had on the psyche of those who lived under the fear of this act and on some of the innocent children who witnessed the events. Mr. Lester chose to concentrate mainly on how viewing a lynching would affect a white child or teen whose parents took them the event. This approach makes this novel stand apart from most others on this topic which tend to delve into the outcome this injustice had on the black commun ...more
Jun 12, 2009 Nicole rated it really liked it
This one reads almost like a folktale, though perhaps more lyrical. Not dreamlike, exactly, but softened somehow. Lester paints this town with wide brush strokes, telling the reader explicitly what they need to know. There is no subtlety, nothing left for the reader to interpret. Which (not surprisingly) leaves the characters a bit flat and one-dimensional, but (surprisingly) I was still deeply engaged as the story unfolded.

Here's a taste:

"Neither boy is old enough to understand that Ansel's st
Jan 13, 2009 Reita rated it really liked it
A story of black and white relations in the south in 1946. This book has touched me. I've been a northerner all my life. This book has shown me a side of the southern white that I'm ashamed to know. I'm not saying the white northerner is an angel, but I don't know how people can do these things to people. Lester gives historical statistics on lynchings of white and black. Very revealing. The book ends with these paragraphs:
"How do I atone for the sins of that time, of that place? I atone by forc
Lexi Payne
Jan 24, 2013 Lexi Payne rated it liked it
Ansel and Little Willie are friends and have grown up together. They are bothe teenagers. Little Willie is African-American. Ansel is white. They both work together in the shop owned by Ansel’s father, Bert. Their lives are great at the moment. But the story turns around one day when Little Willie’s father is accused of raping and murdering a girl. But Zeph, obnoxious and rude, is the one who really did it. But,Zeph was let off of the hook because he is white. He blamed it on little Willie's fat ...more
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I was born on January 27, 1939 in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1941-1954 I lived in Kansas City, Kansas, and from 1954-1961 in Nashville, Tennesse. I received a B.A. in English from Fisk University in 1960.

In 1961 I moved to New York City where I had a talk radio show on WBAI FM from 1966-1973, hosted a television talk show on WNET from 1969-1971.

Since 1968 I have published 43 books. Among the awards
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“Being a failure at living your own life as best as you can is better than being a success living the life somebody else says you should live.” 9 likes
“But 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.” 7 likes
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