Description: 9-year-old Marcus integrates into a white school at the height of the civil rights movement. While Marcus’s father is in jail with Dr. Martin Luther King for his nonviolent protest activities, Marcus endures the jeers of classmates day after day. Finally, Marcus’s grandmother tells him the story of a Christian named Valentine who was also jailed and persecuted for his faith. Now Marcus must make a bold and difficult choice.
“I hate them.” The words were like a steel gate swinging open. Other words tumbled out before Marcus could stop them. Words about eating alone and Travis and kids who tripped him in the halls.
Mama held a cupboard door, her jaw set.
“I hate those school kids!” The words felt like fire. “And I hate Travis most of all!”
Granny turned Marcus’s face to hers. “No,” she said. “No need to be hating. Jesus says to love our enemies.”
Mama slammed the cupboard door. “He’s just a child!” she said.
Granny laid a hand on her arm. ‘So’s this other boy,” she said. “Just a child. They’re all children. God’s children.”
Mama took a breath and let it out. Marcus wondered if there were any angels for Mama.