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Day of Tears

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,442 Ratings  ·  445 Reviews

On March 2 and 3, 1859, the largest auction of slaves in American history took place in Savannah, Georgia. More than 400 slaves were sold. On the first day of the auction, the skies darkened and torrential rain began falling. The rain continued throughout the two days, stopping only when the auction had ended. The simultaneity of the rain storm with the auction led to thes
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 20th 2007 by Jump At The Sun (first published January 1st 2005)
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Jan 05, 2016 Hamisoitil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le 2 et 3 mars 1859 a eu lieu la plus grande vente aux enchères d'esclaves de l'histoire américaine, en Georgie et c'est à travers cette tragédie que l'auteur, Julius Lester vient mélanger histoire et fiction. Ce livre est donc basé sur des faits réels plus ou moins romancé puisque là, Les larmes noires visent un jeune publique.
Quand je commence à lire ce petit roman, je suis assez déstabilisée car l'auteur a un style bien particulier. C'est au fil des pages que je me suis laissée bercer par les
Feb 05, 2010 Ch_beverlyatwood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mc-literature
Title: Day of Tears
Author: Julius Lester
Illustrator: None
Publisher: Jump at the Sun, Hyperion Books for Children
Year originally published: 2005
Translator (if applicable): None
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: 9 to 13 years
Format (picture book, audio book, book read online, chapter book/novel, graphic novel): Young Adult Chapter Book
Rating system: 5 Stars - *****
Brief summary: This interesting book written in dialogue tells about the largest slave auction ever held. The points of view are
Douglas M
Apr 28, 2015 Douglas M rated it it was amazing
This book had 177 pages. The main character is Sarah. She is a sweet little girl that keeps friends as a family. She likes to play with her friends a lot but not to be bored. The realationship between Sarah and I is that she never lets go of anybody and keep them. It reminds me of the time when there was racism.
Jeff Lindsey
Mar 26, 2012 Jeff Lindsey rated it really liked it
This was a difficult book to read. Not because it was poorly written, because the writing is fantastic. It was difficult to read because of how angry it made me, and how that emotional level was kept at a fever pitch through the entire book. It was exhausting to read with that kind of internal churning. I kept asking myself how it was possible that we, as a species, can do these sort of things to one another. How we can justify the wholesale subjugation of another ace to the point that it seems ...more
Jan 27, 2010 CH_Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mc-literature
I truly enjoyed reading Day of Tears. I could not put the book down. This book is based off true historical happenings of the largest slave auction held in the United States. It is interesting because it is written with each character's perspective. Emma a young slave is sold away from her family into another plantation in Kentucky. This story depicts the feeling's Emma's family and other slaves had at this time and also the feelings and thoughts of slave owners at this time. This book is wonder ...more
Christine Jensen
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: Junior High/High School

Format: Audio Book (Recorded Books, Unabridged)

Awards: ALSC Notable Recording (2007), Coretta Scott King Award Winner (2006)

Response: The novel is read by several narrators, both male and female, in dialects that accurately fit the characters of the story. The readers performance is dynamic, conveying the emotions and feelings of the characters in a way that truly brings them to life. The content of the novel itself also evokes a
L11_Ryanne Szydlik
Jan 26, 2011 L11_Ryanne Szydlik rated it it was amazing
Heartfelt, tragic, eye-opening, and fast paced. Day of Tears, by Julius Lester, is a beautifully written story about an incredibly ugly time in American History. The story is written through the perspective of all the characters, mainly Emma the main link between most of the characters. Lester does this in such an effective way that there is no confusion when switching characters, but instead it builds more interest and understanding for the reader.

Through switching characters, the reader will
Jaclyn Giordano
Jan 26, 2010 Jaclyn Giordano rated it it was amazing
Day of Tears is a chapter book intended for students from grades six to nine. More specifically, it is a novel of dialogue, garnering perspectives of all characters involved in the gut-wrenching tale of one of the largest slave auctions ever held in America. I gave this book five stars. Lester dramatically intertwines internal dialogue of character’s thoughts and feelings alongside actual conversation and dialogue that keeps the action unfolding. Intermittently, the reader gets to read Interlud ...more
L11-Mary Utterback
How do I begin to reflect upon this wonderful piece of literature. This book tells the story of slavery from the perspective of the slaves, master, master's family and many more. It was a day where rain fell from the sky like it had never fallen before. The rain symbolizes the pain and heartache felt by all those involved in a massive slave trade to help clear the gambling debts of the master. It shows the relationship between the slaves and the family as it comes to an ending through greed. The ...more
Day of Tears in a short novel in dialogue (both thoughts and spoken words). The basis for the novel is true, and it is about America's largest slave trade ever. Some of the characters are even real people, though many of the characters are fictionalized. The dialogue is told from the point of view of 22 different characters from slaves and their families, to plantation owners and their families, an abolitionist and even the auctioneer. Part of what makes the book so intriguing is all of the vari ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing
What do you call it when you finally find a book that is so rawly written that you know you won't forget it?I think I was bawling the whole entire book! It was fantastic.
(view spoiler)
Dec 30, 2007 Naomi rated it really liked it
On March 2nd and 3rd 1859, American history was forever changed when the largest slave auction was held in Savannah,Georgia. A total of either 429 or 436 slaves were sold due to the fact that the slave owner, Mr. Pierce Butler was a gambler, and couldn't afford to pay off his debts. Though the Butler family and the slave auctioneer in the story are actual people and the story is based on historical events of that family, the writing is historical fiction. Julius Lester writes this novel in the f ...more
L-Crystal Wlodek
This chapter book about slavery is a novel in dialogue and is intended for children ages 9-12. This book accurately tells about the hardships during times of slavery by describing the biggest slave auction in American History through flashbacks, flash-forwards, in shifting first-person accounts.

The author accurately describes slavery in general and transforms what little is known about the biggest slave auction in American History into a dramatic, personal, and real work of art. The personal vo
528_Mary F.
This is historical fiction about the biggest slave auction in American history which took place in Savannah, Georgia on Pierce Butler's plantation. It was a real life event. The author, Julius Lester, imagines the "voices" of those who were there and their experiences. There are a lot of characters who speak in the present tense. The auction and what happens afterward is not forgettable. The slave in the center of it all, Emma, works for Butler and raises his children. She is told she will never ...more
Alex D
May 04, 2015 Alex D rated it it was amazing
This book has 171 pages. The main character Is the Master, I can connect to the main character by there bossiness. I can connect to the main character, because I'm bossy too. The reason i gave this book 5 stars Is because I was very interested in slavery. slavery is what is book is about. This book remind me of camps they had back then. I felt really hurt about the ending. The ending left me with nothing to say. (I cried trough the whole book)
Dec 10, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
This book was written in dialogue like a play so it was very easy to read. The story is based on a day in history with a few of the characters representing actual people. The Day of Tears refers to the largest slave auction in history. March 2 and 3 1859 over 400 slaves were sold from Pierce Butler a Georgian plantation owner who had lost his fortune to gambling. The author goes between characters from present (the auction) to future (after the auction when characters are old). I can not even im ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Dr.J.G. rated it liked it
Shelves: the-weeping-time
A most interesting part of history of US, described as

"On March 2 and 3, 1859, the largest auction of slaves in American history took place in Savannah, Georgia. More than 400 slaves were sold. On the first day of the auction, the skies darkened and torrential rain began falling. The rain continued throughout the two days, stopping only when the auction had ended. The simultaneity of the rain storm with the auction led to these two days being called " the weeping time." "

makes one wonder.

Kenasia Gainer
Dec 17, 2015 Kenasia Gainer rated it really liked it
I think that it was a interesting book. Some of it was sad the way families got separated from each other. They couldn't see each other because they were too far apart. I like the part where Emma named her daughter Sarah and Sarah named her daughter Emma, I thought that was cute. Joe and Emma slave owner wasn't mean or anything I think Emma and Joe just wanted freedom and to be independence. Joe friend Charlie father loved to be a slave because he had no where to go and they treated him like he ...more
Brit Wilson
Dec 15, 2014 Brit Wilson rated it really liked it
I listened to this as an audio book because the subject matter was a bit delicate for me. I knew it was going to be an emotional heart wrenching tale, and decided that for my sanity, I would be better off not reading it with my eyes but hearing it, something I'm much more likely to forget versus reading which I internalize. If I hadn't had to read it for class, I wouldn't have picked this up.

The novel is written ,as it says, in dialogue, and as you can guess, msot of the text is what is being s
Dec 15, 2014 Kirsten rated it liked it
Shelves: eng-356-17-25
Based upon the lives of slaves prior to the civil war, this novel provides an in-depth look into the lives of slaves and the hardships they faced on a regular basis. "Day of Tears" is written in a script format, yet through differing text styles, offers insights into not only the words spoken by each character, but their personal thoughts as well. This book was required reading, though due to the historical content of the book, would likely be one I would have chosen for myself. It is beautifull ...more
RLL52014_KellyMcGushin Mcgushin
Day of Tears is a great book that addresses the issues of slavery. A young slave named Emma is taken from her family and sold to a plantation. It is at this plantation where she meets Joe, a close friend that helps her make her dream of freedom come true. Julius Lester is an incredible author and his writing style allows the reader to become absorbed in his story. He effectively portrays the emotions of the slaves and their masters. The dialogue between the characters, and the inner thoughts tha ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Rll52014_mollyharris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mc-literature
Julius Lester's Day of Tears tells the story of a family ripped apart by slavery. Lester based this work of historical fiction on the largest slave auction to take place in American History. The story is told from multiple viewpoints including the plantation owner, Pierce Butler, his daughters, and three generations of slaves. The protagonist is Emma, the twelve year old only child to Mattie and Will, slaves who have been with Butler since they were all children themselves. Though heartbreaking, ...more
Tyesha Barton
Sep 15, 2014 Tyesha Barton rated it it was amazing
In "Day of Tears" by Julius Lester, it was very inspiring and fascinating. This book was based on slavery and it was told at many different point of views. The way that this novel is based on dialogue, I think that this makes it easier for the reader to understand the novel and what's going on in the story. Since the reader can see each character's point of view in the text, they are able to comprehend how each character feels about what's happening.
My favorite character was Emma. She is my fav
Feb 24, 2015 Natalie rated it liked it
This book heavily focuses on the depth of slavery. This book highlights important key factors of the slave trade, and mostly on an action that ooh place back in 1859. During this auction, more than 400 slaves were sold and during this time, it continually rains. There is a lot of symbolism that takes place, by having the sky rain for so long, it's indicating that the sky is weeping. Emma is one of the characters that is talked about and she really wants to teach her children the danger of slaver ...more
Kaylah Hassard
Jun 26, 2015 Kaylah Hassard rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-13-24
Day of Tears is a novel told in dialogue form. It is the story about slaves, and their relationships as well as their conquest for freedom. One of the principle slaves names is Emma. She develops a loving relationship with the little girls she serves, Frances and Sarah. Frances is just like her father and completely approves of owning slaves, and Sarah is like her mother and doesn't like owning slaves. Eventually their father, Pierce Butler, sells Emma to help pay off some bills he accum
Nov 08, 2014 hareton_fan1 rated it really liked it
This was definitely a book that introduced me to a new way of talking about slavery. You hear that slaves were treated as cattle and that they were carted over in tight quarters on ships, but it's different when you're hearing about it from the mouths of slaves themselves. In this play, it goes deeper into the emotions behind it, about how white people were able to rationalize what they were doing. What blew me away was that it wasn't just slaves, whipping, and starvation. The author throws you ...more
Brian Forbes
Nov 08, 2014 Brian Forbes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit-shelf-2
I really enjoyed this book! I was assigned to read this book for my Young Adult Literature Class. I was so fascinated by the way the story was told. There are multiple narrators, and it is written almost in the same way as a play. The book gets really interesting as you see the perspective of each character. This gives a lot of depth to the novel. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about slavery. Most of the story is fictional, but it reflects the lives of slaves ...more
Bryce  Bodily
Nov 09, 2014 Bryce Bodily rated it really liked it
This was an assignment and I was wondering what sort of direction this book was going to take as it discussed slavery. The interesting thing was that the narrative method is what really helped keep me involved until the very end of the book.

The fact that it moves from perspective to perspective is something that I really enjoyed. It helped me feel like I was getting a much more involved picture of what was going on from the point of Mr. Butler (Master) selling his slaves. We get a little bit bef
Angelique Wilkes
Dec 14, 2014 Angelique Wilkes rated it liked it
Shelves: 17-25
This was a difficult book to read. Not because it was poorly written, because the writing is fantastic. It was difficult to read because of how angry it made me, and how that emotional level was kept at a fever pitch through the entire book. It was exhausting to read with that kind of internal churning. I kept asking myself how it was possible that we, as a species, can do these sort of things to one another. How we can justify the wholesale subjugation of another ace to the point that it seems ...more
Jessica Welch
Nov 10, 2014 Jessica Welch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 356-2
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.... Can I just shout out my love for this book from the rooftops? For reals people... This book was genius! So well written I loved it loved it loved it. The main character Emma was awesome! Everyone should want to be like her, minus the slave part. She was so strong and carried the whole story along. Probably the part that I loved most was how the characters talked. Every single thing written was from first person perspective. It was so easy to follow and the ...more
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The Slave Auction 1 9 Feb 04, 2013 08:50AM  
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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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“It ain't how long you know somebody that means anything. It's what that person mean to you in your heart.” 8 likes
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