Things you can’t back down on, things you gotta take a stand on!

By Himanshu Nimbhorkar

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“Baby, we have no choice of what color we’re born or who our parents are, or whether we’re rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we’re here.”

Such a pure, urgent, passionate piece of wisdom. The terrific author of ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’, Mildred D Taylor is an acclaimed African American writer who conceives ideas and expresses her layered socio-philosophical thoughts through immensely human stories.

Her writing traces back to her African American roots, and brings to the table a much-needed perspective. Her contribution to children’s literature has introduced many kids and teens to the delicately sensitive themes which include diversity, life along the margins, and how such things affect an individual and the world at large.

Born on 13th September 1943, Taylor consumed stories and acquainted herself with real-life experiences (the recounting of it to be more precise), especially of her father and ancestors who suffered during the great depression, and other circumstances that came their way. All of it seeped into her work over the years and decades.

She wrote about racism, discrimination, the lack of (and thus the need for) basic human values and emotions, respect, kindness, and love; many of which are fairly evident in ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’. The hugely acclaimed series of books revolving around the Logan family includes the titles – ‘Let the circle be unbroken’, ‘Road to Memphis’, ‘The Gold Cadillac’, ‘All the days past, and All the days to come’; in that order as sequels to one another.

Along with a hard-hitting social commentary, Taylor’s books are hugely enjoyable, thoroughly entertaining, and engaging. Her settings are lively and vibrant, leaving a lot of room for visceral imagination.

The other titles in Taylor’s fantastic body of work includes the likes of ‘Song of the Trees’, ‘The Friendship’, ‘Mississippi Bridge’, ‘The Land’, and many more.

A kid doesn’t live and grow in a vacuum. Partaking in the social landscape that becomes a supremely integral aspect of a child’s growing up life, it’s immensely important for children by and large to be made aware of many sociological elements that might hopefully shape them, inspire them, and help them grow up to become better human beings, and better versions of themselves.

Taylor has undertaken this task in her little capacity as a writer for decades now. Her legacy is here to inspire a generation of readers, and potentially aspiring writers too.

“There are things you can’t back down on, things you gotta take a stand on. But it’s up to you to decide what these things are.” the legend writes.

Subtle, simplistic, and significant enough!