48 Hours Review: Sallie Gal & The Wall-a-kee Man

I first learned of Sheila P. Moses through my involvement with The Brown Bookshelf.  The author of The Legend of Buddy Bush, Moses was raised in Rich Square, North Carolina as the ninth of tenth children.

Set on Cumbo Road in rural North Carolina, Sheila P. Moses uses her own childhood as the inspiration of the story of Sallie Gal, her cousin Wild Cat, and their adventures as a sharecropping family.  While Papa’s off fighting in the Vietnam War, Sallie Gal and Momma pick cotton.  Sallie Gal yearns for pretty hair ribbons like her cousin Wild Cat with the pretty green eyes wears.

Momma instills in Sallie Gal a strong work ethic and sense of pride.  Refusing to accept charity from anyone including family, Sallie Gal and Wild Cat come up with ways to earn money to buy hair ribbons from the Wall-a-kee Man like selling lemonade on Cumbo Road and doing chores for Miss Dottie.

The story is an easy read, filled with wonderful illustrations from Niki Daly, and told in a way that teaches about life in the rural south where families have to work hard for the things they need all while maintaining a sense of pride and passing it on to their children.

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