Books





REVIEWS
Drawing from her own childhood experiences, Jackson creates a compelling story about racism, poverty, and the power of community to help lift people up. . . an excellent recommendation for any young reader looking for new books about the civil rights era. —Booklist (STARRED) 

Clever, optimistic tale of Black boy in 1967 Mississippi.... This outstanding book promotes empathy for people who are marginalized and encouragement that change and progress can happen. In The Lucky Ones, Linda Williams Jackson repeats the successful format she uses in A Sky Full of Stars and Midnight Without a Moon, putting fictional tweens into the middle of the events of the civil rights movement. -Common Sense Media

Jackson draws on her personal history to show real people behind Kennedy’s historic visit. . . She successfully presents individuals who, despite grinding poverty, nurtured hopes and dreams, and she highlights those like Mr. Foster and his church community who shared what they had with those in need. . . . Rich in detail; offers readers immediacy and connection. —Kirkus Reviews

Ellis Earl, Mr. Foster, the Brown brood, and their predominantly Black community are astutely characterized, imbued with eclectic and lovable personalities. Jackson (A Sky Full of Stars) delivers a touching novel that resonates today, centering the crucial impact of community on one family’s financial precarity.
—Publishers Weekly

An inspiring story about a tight-knit family, The Lucky Ones makes real the people who lived, worked, and grew up in the Mississippi Delta amid the tumult of the 1960s. —Foreword Reviews

Poverty and hunger are powerfully evident in this story which is based on author Linda Jackson’s experiences growing up in rural Mississippi during the 60s. . . . The southern dialect of the Black characters is spot on and helps lend the story a sense of place. —School Library Connection

It’s 1967, and eleven-year-old Ellis Earl Brown has big dreams. He’s going to grow up to be a teacher or a lawyer—or maybe both—and live in a big brick house in town. There’ll always be enough food in the icebox, and his mama won’t have to run herself ragged looking for work as a maid in order to support Ellis Earl and his eight siblings and niece Vera. So Ellis Earl applies himself at school, soaking up the lessons that Mr. Foster teaches his class—particularly those about famous colored people like Mr. Thurgood Marshall and Miss Marian Wright—and borrowing books from his teacher’s bookshelf. When Mr. Foster presents him with a copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ellis Earl is amazed to encounter a family that’s even worse off than his own—and is delighted by the Buckets’ very happy ending. But when Mama tells Ellis Earl that he might need to quit school to help support the family, he wonders if happy endings are only possible in storybooks. Around the historical touchstone of Robert Kennedy’s southern “poverty tour,” Linda Williams Jackson pulls from her own childhood in the Mississippi Delta to tell a detail-rich and poignant story with memorable characters, sure to resonate with readers who have ever felt constricted by their circumstances.

Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor Book
ALA Notable Book for Children
Washington Post Kids' Summer Book Club Selection
New York Public Library Best Books for Children
Youth Services Librarian's Top Picks for 2017
SFUSD Recommended Summer Reading
Seattle Public Library's Favorite Middle Grade Books of 2017

The ugly brutality of Jim Crow South is recounted in dulcet, poetic tones....Jackson superbly blends the history into her narrative. ~ Kirkus

This nuanced coming-of-age story by a debut author is deftly delivered, with engaging characters set against a richly contextualized backdrop of life for African Americans during the Jim Crow era. It’s also an authentic work of historical fiction about a pivotal incident in the civil rights movement."—Horn Book

Jackson's debut does an excellent job dramatizing the injustice that was epidemic in the pre-civil rights South. ~ Booklist

Jackson pulls no punches in the characters' heated discussions and keeps dialogue raw and real. ~ Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Through keen insights and a powerful voice, Midnight Without a Moon offers readers an unflinching bird's eye view of 1955 Mississippi. A magnificent piece of writing! ~ Sharon Flake, Coretta Scott King Award winning author of The Skin I'm In

Rose shines bright in the darkness--brave, beautiful, and full of hard-won hope. ~ Caroline Starr Rose, award winning author of May B

It’s Mississippi in the summer of 1955, and thirteen-year-old Rose Lee Carter can’t wait to move north. But for now, she’s living with her sharecropper grandparents on a white man’s cotton plantation.

Then, one town over, a fourteen-year-old African American boy, Emmett Till, is killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. When Till’s murderers are unjustly acquitted, Rose realizes that the South needs a change . . . and that she should be part of the movement.

Linda Jackson’s moving debut seamlessly blends a fictional portrait of an African American family and factual events from a famous trial that provoked change in race relations in the United States. Midnight Without a Moon is perfect for readers who enjoyed Brown Girl Dreaming and/or The Watsons Go to Birmingham.




A Sky Full of Stars

2018 Malka Penn Honor Book

"A Sky Full of Stars exquisitely represents the Malka Penn Book Award's mission to shine light on human rights issues for younger audiences, while also celebrating beautiful and compelling stories." - Douglas Kaufman

"Filled with teachable moments that are perfect for modern-day discussions of race and justice, this is also a story about the complexities of family and choices." –Kirkus

"A powerful and well-crafted novel that will spark deep discussion of this era in U.S. history— and its contemporary repercussions." –School Library Journal

"Readers will be left with much to consider and discuss."-Publishers Weekly

"This de facto sequel to Jackson’s first novel, Midnight without a Moon (2017), is equally successful at dramatizing the lives of black people in the pre–civil rights South and capturing the sensibility of its setting, which together ensure the book will be a valuable classroom resource."--Booklist

"With captivating characterization, the author has again credibly woven real historical events into a poignant story of hope, friendship, and aspiration, resulting in an insightful historical novel that could serve as a resourceful complement to contemporary discussions about social justice."--Horn Book

After the murder of Emmett Till, thirteen-year-old Rose is struggling with her decision to stay in Mississippi. Torn between the opinions of Shorty, a boy who wants to meet violence with violence, and Hallelujah, her best friend who believes in the power of peaceful protests, Rose is scared of the mounting racial tension and is starting to lose hope. But when Rose helps Aunt Ruthie start her own business, she begins to see how she can make a difference in her community. Life might be easier in the North, but Mississippi is home and that's worth fighting for. Mid-Century Mississippi comes alive in this sequel to Midnight Without a Moon.