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Leon's Story

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  467 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
"Leon's Story is a powerful, wonderful thing!" -- Nikki Giovanni

I remember that as a young boy I used to look in the mirror and I would curse my color, my blackness. But in those days they didn't call you "black." They didnt say "minority." They called us "colored" or "nigger."

Leon Tillage grew up the son of a sharecropper in a small town in North Carolina. Told in vignet
Paperback, 107 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Square Fish (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 879)
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Eva Leger
May 10, 2011 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing
I found this at Goodwill for a dollar the other day. Loving non-fiction and personal stories and seeing this kid's cute, smiling face I had to get it. And I'm glad I did because I'm going to hang onto it for when Julia's older. I think all kids should read this, black, white, every race.
I do have to say that I think Roth did a disservice to this story. I'm not big into art but I can appreciate certain forms. But her collage art in this text makes the book seem tacky. And the story and author ar
Jan 30, 2013 Brenda rated it it was amazing
When Matt and I moved together from second grade to third, I decided that if I was going to ask my class to record their reading, I should do it too. And I should do it in a thorough enough way that I would feel comfortable sharing it as a model of reading records and what you can learn from them with my class.

I began recording my reading in earnest that year. I have ever since. It is fun to look back at the summary and consider a “reading year.” I sort by genre – adult and children’s. The first
Isabella Heyaime
May 05, 2016 Isabella Heyaime rated it really liked it
This book is great, I really liked it. Its about Leon Walter Tillage and what he went through in life through the eyes of another person (autobiography). This book is very inspirational and teaches you not to discriminate against others of a different race because at the end of the day everyone is human. There are some heartwarming scenes and gruesome scenes which makes you think about how much "colored" people went through. When you read this book you will not be disappointed.
Aug 11, 2009 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, biography
Leon Tillage grew up in the 1940s and 1950s in rural North Carolina, outside Raleigh. At the time the book was written, he worked as a custodian for a school in Baltimore. Every year, he gave a presentation to the 7th graders on what life was life was like for him and his family living in the Jim Crow south. To write the book, Leon recorded his talks on to a tape recorder and the publisher transcribed them, resulting in a first-person narrative biography. I listened to the audio book, and while ...more
Carolina He
Dec 17, 2013 Carolina He rated it it was amazing
I think this book should be read by a bigger audience. Not only does this book tells us about what African Americans had gone through, but it also show us about racism and prejudice. There are parts that show us the truth nature of human. Which is when we prejudice someone who is not like us just because of skin color, different nationality, you feel superior, etc. There are times when you are scare of that person and you subconsciously hide your fear by bullying or hitting. I agree with Leon wh ...more
C 4Lujin
Apr 05, 2016 C 4Lujin rated it it was amazing
In his memoir, Leon’s Story, Leon Tillage describes the terror and fear he experienced in his childhood just from the color of his skin. Leon describes how the white kids would terrorize them on their walk home from school. When the “white kids’ school bus” drove by and stopped by Leon the white kids would start throwing “stones” at them trying to walk home (Tillage 56). This shows a daily horror experienced by Leon just because he didn’t have the same color of skin. This terror was experienced ...more
May 10, 2015 Josie rated it really liked it
I personally enjoyed reading Leon’s story. It was an autobiography written by a sharecropper’s son. Leon grew up under the Jim Crow laws and discusses how they shaped his life. It was a powerful message that describes what he and other young people went through when they dared to march for their rights. This biography was a good read for age’s fourth to fifth. The chapters were a little longer however the print was large. I would use this book in a history lesson to make curricular connections. ...more
Jenna Lattu
Feb 15, 2015 Jenna Lattu rated it liked it
Summary: Leon's story is written by, and all about a boy named Leon who grew up as a sharecropper with his family. Throughout the book you experience a lot of normal milestones that come with growing up for Leon, however in a completely different, and horrifying fashion. He grew up in a small town in North Carolina. It is a story about walking to school that only had black children, and meanwhile watching a bus full of white bullies drive past. It is also about African American's battles with th ...more
Alexis Sloan
Feb 10, 2015 Alexis Sloan rated it it was amazing
Leon's Story was a touching story about an African American boy (Leon) who grew up in the 30's. Leon belonged to a poor, sharecropping family that worked day in and day out to survive. On top of this, this was the prime decade in which African American's had zero rights. With perseverance, determination, and hard work, Leon managed to survive and grow into a successful working man.

This story taught me that no matter what comes my way, as long as I work hard, I can achieve anything I set my mind
Demeyia Clark
Feb 08, 2015 Demeyia Clark rated it really liked it
"Leon's story" is an autobiographical account of Leon Walter Tillage, a young boy growing up in 1940s North Carolina, Fuquay-Varina to be exact, in a sharecropper family. The story is broken down into sections in which Tillage goes into details about different areas of his life such as his details about family, his fifteenth birthday and even civil rights marches he participated in.

I give this book four stars because of Tillage's gentle approach to racism. He provides room for the reader to see
Ashley McMurtrey
Feb 10, 2015 Ashley McMurtrey rated it it was amazing
Leon's Story by Leon Walter Tillage is an autobiography about Leon's life in the 1940's when racism was a huge problem. His family were African American sharecropper's in North Carolina. He explains the horrible things he, his friends, and his family had to go through. While going through tough times, Leon watched his dad die by being run over by drunk whites while his dad and mom were walking back home with things for Leon's birthday. Leon watched day by day bad things happen to black people, a ...more
Alexis Keable
Oct 08, 2014 Alexis Keable rated it really liked it
This novel is about Leon and his life experiences in North Carolina during the 1940’s. Leon grew up in the south when segregation was a big issue. Presented almost like a journal, Leon takes us on a vivid experience. He brings us into his family and shows us the hardships his family faced each and every day. While a very solemn topic, the presentation is easy to read and shows how Leon endured this hard time.

The major theme in this book focuses on the segregation in the south. An underlying them
Sep 28, 2014 Mckenna rated it it was amazing
Leon's Story was a captivating and engaging story that describes the life of a a young African American boy, Leon. During this time period, there was extreme racism and the book describes the hardships that his family went through on a daily basis. Leon was constantly living in fear until he realized that it was not going to stop unless something was done about it! This autobiography exposed the horrific tragedies that happened at this time because of racism in a way that is great for any age re ...more
In the story "Leon's Story" by Leon Walter Tillage, The main Character Leon Goes through a lot in life. For example, First he has to work hard every day after coming back from school in the sunny hot weather. Also, Color kids and color people used to be discriminated by whites. Moreover , the day of his sixteens birthday his dad was killed in front of his eyes,his siblings's and Mom. Moreover, He used to march with other color people for equal rights. However, the white people used to get on the ...more
Holly Sulak
Feb 10, 2015 Holly Sulak rated it it was amazing
Summary: Leon's story is the life of Leon Tillage in 1936. Leon's family were sharecroppers who sharecropped for a white family. This is the time where African Americans did have any rights and where just there. Leon survived the hard times and tells the story of how African Americans were treated. This is a very touchy story and everyone should read it.

Theme(s): If you work hard enough, eventually your hard work will pay off. You can't move forward by hanging onto the past.

Connecting to the cla
Catherine Sandusky
Oct 08, 2014 Catherine Sandusky rated it it was amazing
Leon's Story is a children's novel that focuses on one child's youth in the time of the Civil Rights Movement. Leon looks back at his past, thinking in terms of his age at the time of each event, and expresses his discontent with the way he was treated, as well as how unfair everything seemed to him. His time on a farm with his family of sharecroppers molded his attitudes as a teenager and we see how he uses that strength to make change.

The major theme of Leon's Story is to bring to light the is
Parker Lewis
Oct 06, 2014 Parker Lewis rated it really liked it
This book is about an African American boy who grows up in the South during 1930's. It tells a story about his life growing up and all the hardships he and the rest of the African American community had to endure. It gives a great first person point of view of the discrimination and brutality that the African American community went through on a normal day basis.
A huge theme in this book was perseverance because Leon always kept his head high and strive to move forward in his life, instead of d
Mar 26, 2015 Bryan rated it liked it
Shelves: english
This is a good book. It is very sad how African Americans were treated during slavery. White kids grew up with hatred towards blacks and it is so disturbing, because I grew up with my best friend being black and he is awesome! Leon and his friends would have to stop at the bus stop everyday while white kids would throw stones at them, and when they would beg stop or moan an grown the white kids would like that. For white farmers their work would be stand behind slaves and spit tobacco while the ...more
Pilar Johnson
Oct 07, 2014 Pilar Johnson rated it it was amazing
Leon’s Story is an autobiography about a young boy who is a sharecropper’s son. Leon is striving to live his life despite all of the struggles that he has to face due to the color of his skin. Leon grows up in the Civil Rights era where racism is prominent in the south and segregation is practiced. The devastating scenarios that he has to face will make you feel for the African Americans during those times. The major themes of the story are racism, racial discrimination, family values, identity ...more
Joe Quigg
Sep 29, 2014 Joe Quigg rated it liked it
Leon's Story is an autobiography of Leon Walter Tillage. Tillage tells his story, and what is was like for an African American growing up in North Carolina in the 1940s. He worked on several different farms as a kid, along with his parents and eight siblings. He mellowly talked about the racism that occurred on a day to day basis. The theme of this book is to inform the reader of the tragedies African Americans dealt with and the guts they had to start civil rights movements. This book would be ...more
A heartbreaking read that is more than tempered by Mr. Tillage's lack of bitterness even after all he witnessed and experienced as a black boy growing up in small-town North Carolina. Searing incidents are all the more so with the simplicity of his voice ("that's the way it was then" is a phrase he often uses to explain egregious behavior and sad facts of life). An unforgettable book about the hopeful resilience of an ordinary boy under extraordinary circumstances. An absolute must-read for any ...more
Nolan Johnson
Oct 07, 2014 Nolan Johnson rated it liked it
A. This book is about the life of a sharecropper's son named Leon Tillage growing up in the south during the Jim Crow Era. Leon faces many challenges because of the color of his skin, and is mistreated by white people. Leon wonders why it has to be this way and decides to do something about it.

B. All men and woman are equal. Also, fight for what you believe in, even if that means going against the status quo.

C. This book is great to read when teaching lessons on the civil rights movement. Also
May 05, 2016 Sonia added it
This book resembles the harsh reality of what people including kids had to go through in the past. Our society has improved a lot according to what Leon and his family went through. This book has made me look at things in another point of view. It made me wonder how they got through the things they had to deal with. We have a big privilege of not being subjected to these serious events that others have. I think this book is one of the best biographies I've personally ever read. Highly recommend ...more
Apr 22, 2009 Tringa rated it really liked it

Looking for a book that's about slavery? An autobiography on someone who actually experienced? Well, this book is different from other books about slavery in the south during the 1800's. For starters, it's actually an autobiography unlike many other slave stories, that are based on facts. Leon's Story is about a small boy, Leon Walter Tillage, and yes, you guessed it, his story. It's all about his adventures as an African, such as his adventures as a black kid. Although it's a pretty short bo

Mar 22, 2008 Elaine rated it it was amazing
"Everyday when i look in the mirror, i would curse my skin color, my blackness." Leon hated his sking color because of what evverybody does to him, because he's African America. Leon grew up in an enviornment and time period where people were racist to African Americans.Leon and his family went through it all together. Leon was like every other slave poor and scared.
Leon had to face racism everyday in his life. This book reveals the horrifying truth about racism and how many people dealt with i
Leon's Story, though a book that I would recommend to everyone, is especially suited to introduce children to difficult ideas such as the history of racism and the impact that it had, and has, on people. The writing is deceptively simple, due to the fact that it was transcribed from tape recordings of Leon telling his own story, but recounts history with a humanity only possible in a memoir. Leon remains hopeful, and he, his mother, and brother have, miraculously and despite experiences that wou ...more
Oct 24, 2012 Kittycati2000 rated it liked it
This memoir is an ok book, because I don't think it pulls me in enough to want to read more. I wouldn't say it is the best book but it did make me interested. It is about an african american named Leon, and it is about his life and how he lives. Leon lives with his mother, father, and a bunch of siblings.

They lived on a nice farm where it is cold most of the time and it is dry also, with a nice man, but they want to try something new so they move to another farm but they don't like it as much s
Nov 10, 2008 Adriana rated it it was ok
Leon's Story is about a african american boy names Leon who was segragated from all the white kids along with him black friends. He was different then the other people just because of his skin color and nothing else. People didn't like different races at the time and didnt like any people but their own so the others who were lower then them had to sufer. He had to work but also wanted an education so while all the white kids were talking buses to school he had to walk. Leon's father was also kil ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Nancy added it
Recommends it for: teenagers
This was a truly amazing book that describes real lives and real people who went through the same pain or even worse during the 1900's. It was a sad time period because many people were discriminated and killed because they were colored or different colored from white people. It's not fair for those people because they haven;t even done anything to hurt the society. For example, this book is a perfect demonstration for what this is about. This book talks about a boy named Leon Tillage. He is th ...more
Jessica Ng
Nov 08, 2009 Jessica Ng rated it liked it
Shelves: senior-year
This is the first book I read in my senior year. Yes, it is short, but it has a strong message. It talks about the racism that blacks had to deal with. It is written through a young boys perspective and it's just sad. He had to go through walking miles to get to school while the whites could take a bus, having a bottle of urine thrown at him, being chased by dogs, and ultimately, facing the death of his father. He had to face being lonely at such a young age because his father was killed by whit ...more
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