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The Best Mississippi Kids Books

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Written & illustrated by Mildred D. Taylor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Winner of the Newbery Medal, this remarkably moving novel has impressed the hearts and minds of millions of readers.

Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.

  • “[A] vivid story…. Entirely through its own internal development, the novel shows the rich inner rewards of black pride, love, and independence.”—Booklist, starred review
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Written by Mark Twain
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

They’re Puffin Classics for a reason, it’s because they’re the best

Tom Sawyer is sure to find trouble wherever the river leads him . . .

On the banks of the Mississippi River, Tom Sawyer and his friends seek out adventure at every turn. Then one fateful night in the graveyard they witness a murder. The boys make a blood oath never to reveal the secret, and they run away to be pirates in search of hidden treasure. But when Tom gets trapped in a cave with scary Injun Joe, can he escape unharmed?

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Little Cliff and the Porch People
Written by Clifton L. Taulbert & illustrated by E. B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sent to buy special butter for Mama Pearl’s candied sweet potatoes and told to get back lickety-split, Little Cliff is delayed by all his neighbors when they want to contribute their own ingredients. By the author of Eight Habits of the Heart.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Written & illustrated by Mark Twain
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Huckleberry Finn had a tough life with his drunk father until an adventure with Tom Sawyer changed everything. But when Huck’s dad returns and kidnaps him, he must escpe down the Mississippi river with runaway slave, Jim. They encounter trouble at every turn, from floods and gunfights to armed bandits and the long arm of the law. Through it all the friends stick together – but can Huck and Tom free Jim from slavery once and for all?

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Sinking the Sultana
Written & illustrated by Sally M. Walker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

The worst maritime disaster in American history wasn’t the Titanic. It was the steamboat Sultana on the Mississippi River–and it could have been prevented.

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  • The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher - In 1860, eleven-year-old Becky Thatcher, new to St. Petersburg, Missouri, joins the boys at school in a bet to steal from the Widow Douglas in hopes of meeting a promise to have adventures that she made her brother, Jon, before he died.

  • Littlest Bunny in Mississippi: An Easter Adventure - It’s Easter morning, and the littlest bunny has a big secret: he’s actually the Easter Bunny! He has a lot of work to do! Join him as he hides eggs high and low, with a final stop at your house!

  • Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It - From a bestselling and award-winning husband and wife team comes an innovative, beautifully illustrated novel that delivers a front-row seat to the groundbreaking moments in history that led to African Americans earning the right to vote.

  • Stone River Crossing - From the award-winning author of How I Became a Ghost, a tale of unlikely friendship and miracles. When Martha Tom helps Lil Mo and his family escape from the plantation across the river, it's just the beginning of a Choctaw adventure of a lifetime.

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Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

When it was first published, Crossing Bok Chitto took readers by surprise. This moving and original story about the intersection of Native and African Americans received starred reviews and many awards, including being named an ALA Notable Children's Book and a Jane Addams Honor Book. Jeanne Rorex Bridges' illustrations mesmerized readers--Publishers Weekly noted that her "strong, solid figures gaze squarely out of the frame, beseeching readers to listen, empathize and wonder."

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Let the Circle Be Unbroken
Written by Mildred D. Taylor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A stunning repackage of a companion to Mildred D. Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, with cover art by two-time Caldecott Honor Award winner Kadir Nelson!
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