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Trouble the Water

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  39 reviews
From the award-winning author of Dovey Coe comes a sweeping tale of the friendship between a black girl and a white boy and the prejudices they must overcome in segregated Celeste, Kentucky, as the pair try to solve the mysteries surrounding a lonely old dog.

Eleven-year-old Callie is fearless, stubborn, and a little nosy. So when she sees an old yellow dog wandering around
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one terrific read about an interracial friendship between a black girl and a white boy in Kentucky during the time before the Civil Rights Movement. The story spoke to me in ways I really can't describe other than I just really loved everything about it. And the fact that so much of the story centered around a beautiful and aging dog made it all the more heartwarming.
Dianna Winget
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an honest and engaging story of an interracial friendship in pre-civil rights Kentucky. It offers some important and thought provoking perspectives for young readers to consider. Recommended for ages 8-12.
Deborah Bancroft
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Love this author. Want to read more of her.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed the plot and characters of this book. The young girl, Callie, was especially spunky and entertaining.
Mary Sanchez
It's 1953 and eleven-year-old Callie wants to learn who the yellow dog that's wandering her Celeste, Kentucky town belongs to. She's determined to write an article for the local black newspaper once she does her detective work. Callie wants to learn the dog's story so she heads towards the river, while a white boy, Wendall, is following his own leads about an old hidden cabin near the river, when they meet. They join forces for the day to search for the dog and the cabin.

What Callie and Wendall
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC!

This was a book that wasn't on my radar at all and it was sent to me unsolicited. I am a sucker for dogs being on the cover of books and this book is a few things: it's a story of a dog becoming loved, two children from different sides of the fence becoming friends, and an issue of racism that is being propelled in segregated Celeste, Kentucky.

I adored this book and I loved it's approach to a tougher middle grade subject matter. The frie
Addison Children's Services
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Both Callie and Wendell are curious about the old dog who's been wandering around their town of Celeste, Kentucky, but neither knows who the dog belongs to. An almost invisible boy named Jim knows the dog is his, but no one seems to realize Jim exists, perhaps not even Buddy, his dog who tried to save him on that day long ago. The trouble is, Jim can't really remember that day. He doesn't know why he keeps drifting back to the old cabin in the woods. And why does the other boy in the cabin keep ...more
Yvonne Stewart
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This book has all the elements to keep a young reader engaged. It does a great job of introducing racial inequality and how it can affect children. The plot has mystery and historical elements as well. Slavery is discussed in an effective but not brutal manner. I think it's just enough to get a reader interested in learning more about the history of slavery. I really like the character of Callie: strong, sassy, and smart.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! I loved this book...I could barely put it down. It's everything kids love: dogs, ghosts, investigating! Very well-written and engaging!
Sometimes quiet stories are the strongest.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Sometime you have to trouble the water, Callie."

In Celeste, Kentucky there is "An uneasy peace between white and colored." But that is about to change. They have built a swimming pool, paid for with taxpayer's money, but open to whites only.

Into this turbulent time come two characters who play change agents without even really realizing it. Callie Robinson is an African American girl full of spunk and fire. Her policy is that "someone gave you grief, you had to give grief right back." Her pare
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was based on history, and had many elements that intrigued me, including the South with the racial tensions and how various groups of people dealt with that. It also had ghosts, which was intriguing.

The story was told of 11-year old Callie, a black girl, and her interactions with people around her as she searches for the owners of a lost old dog. In some ways Callie seems almost adult in her observations, then childish in others, particularly in regards to racial tension - but enliveni
Gwyneth Ryan
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
In this work of magical realism, a young African American girl named Callie sets out to uncover the mystery surrounding a stray dog and an abandoned cabin in the woods in the town of Celeste, Kentucky. Set in 1953, during segregation, Callie crosses social boundaries when she develops an unlikely friendship with a young white boy named Wendell. By the end of the story, the duo finds that together they just might be able to accomplish what feels impossible. Without any illustrations, Dowell relie ...more
Alli Burke
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This quiet and powerful story is about a time in history when the smallest thing would cause a big problem. This story took place 1953 Kentucky, when segregation is still alive, and a white boy, Wendell, and black girl, Cassie became quick friends while following a mysterious old dog, even though they know they aren't supposed to be seen together. Dowell is able to build up the ending in an optimistic way and gives hope to the readers in a realistic way, which is why it is considered a magical r ...more
C Grannell
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 17-18
Set in segregated Kentucky in 1953, Callie (African American) and Wendell (white) become unlikely friends. They want to solve the mysteries of the old dog that appeared in town, and the hidden cabin in the woods.

A fantasy, and a difficult read because there are two "ghosts" waiting to "cross over." You also understand the dog's thoughts.

Interesting combination of fantasy and historical fiction.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Historical, sensitive, pre-civil-rights ~ Callie Robinson, Wendell Crow, Jim Trebble
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Part historical fiction, part ghost story about friendship, segregation, predudice, and a lost dog.
Eva B.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
this book wasn't the best i didn't like it. It wasn't very organized
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-lit
The author does a good job of putting you in rural Kentucky in the 50's and 60's through the eyes of children with the support of adults. The book is listed as one for 9-13 year olds but good for a wider age group. The newspaper editor is a special, thoughtful person.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Trouble the Water introduces readers to two very brave characters who are trying to solve two mysteries: what is up with the cabin in the woods and where did that old dog come from?
In pre-Civil Rights Kentucky the colored folks and the white folks get along "okay" as long as no one troubles the water. When a young colored girl and a white boy team up to find the owner of an old dog, it leads them to troubled water of a different kind.

This story is historical fiction at it's best: a small slice
This book is set in 1953 in Kentucky when blacks and whites don't mix, but Wendell who is white and Cassie who is black strike up a friendship while wandering around the woods and finding an old dog. I liked the part about their friendship and their wanting life to fair for the black residents of the town, but there is also a story line involving children who are ghosts and are connected to the history of the town. I thought that part detracted from the main story.
The authorial voice in this book is strong, sure, and filled with sympathy toward her characters and the plights they face. Over and over as I read this story, I could hear the Southern dialect, with its particular rural Kentucky flavor ringing out loud and true. I liked eleven-year-old Callie Robinson and her feisty ways, bringing to mind in many respects one of my all-time female protagonists, Cassie Logan from Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Both girls lived in rural parts of t ...more
Sally Kruger
TROUBLE THE WATER is set in Celeste, Kentucky, in 1953. The whites and the blacks get along as long as they know their place. Whites tolerate blacks using the front doors of town establishments, but the black children go to their own school and the town swimming pool is for whites only.

Eleven year old Callie doesn't think too much about the different treatment of blacks until the day she finds the old, yellow dog. That dog and an abandoned cabin in the woods bring her together with a white boy n
Kelly Snyder
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a really good book about a terrible time in American history. Set in pre-civil rights Kentucky, Trouble the Water is a book that makes the reader think about the past and how it affects us today. Callie is a young girl of African-American Heritage and Wendell is young white boy. Both live in the same town, but Callie has witnessed a lot more hate and prejudice the Wendell could ever image. Enter an old yellow dog, his boy who died ten years earlier and young escaped slave who died more t ...more
Celeste, Kentucky is a quiet, segregated town. One day an old yellow dog wanders in and 11 year old Callie wants to find its owner. What she finds is a mystery and an unlikely friendship with a white boy (Wendell)from the other side of town. Why this dog comes back will melt your heart. He belongs to Jim, an almost invisible boy who lives in a cabin in the woods with a little boy named Thomas. These boys just want to find their way home, but it's not that easy because of their "situation". As th ...more
Nancy Cavanaugh
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
LOVED!! Amazing characters with wonderfully authentic voices!
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bookaday #79. 5 stars. So much more than a dog story as hinted by the cover art. Ghosts who may or may not know they are ghosts. Underground Railroad . Pre civil rights Kentucky. Lazy summer days setting well described in the storytelling style. Thoughtful & spunky characters, conscious of racial divide in town but wondering why they just can't be kids. Have a Kleenex ready for chapter 25!
Ms. Yingling
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I was enjoying this until we had the boys who were ghosts and couldn't eat. It's hard to get my students to read historical fiction, and I think this will not only make it harder to get them to read about Civil Rights, but they will then doubt the information about the movement even though it's perfectly okay. I almost wanted notes at the end of the book, too. Just somehow not what I wanted.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
interesting read on racisim in the south...
error p.265 "Called stopped dead in her tracks" doy. the girl's name was actually CALLIE..
Tracy Holland
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Story of overcoming segregation in Kentucky. Different voices tell the story of two kids of different races (Callie and Wendall) coming together because of a dog and an abandoned cabin in the woods. Through their sleuthing, they discover the story of a boy named Jim (now a ghost) and his dog.
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While Frances O'Roark Dowell (Dovey Coe, The Secret Language of Girls, Trouble the Water) is best known for her award-winning novels, she also hosts the popular "Off-Kilter Quilt" podcast, where she talks about her latest quilt projects with friends and fellow quilters around the globe. Her own little corner of the globe is Durham, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a ...more