Books by Shelia P. Moses

THE SITTIN' UP by Shelia P. Moses
Released: Jan. 9, 2014

"Ultimately, the story is a victim of its own charm. Like sweet tea with sweet-potato pie, it's too much sugar, not enough spice. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Moses presents a tale of sorrow and hope that recalls the simple pageant of life in a close-knit community of tobacco sharecroppers. Read full book review >
JOSEPH by Shelia P. Moses
Released: Oct. 28, 2008

It is hard to imagine a more irresponsible, indifferent, negligent mother than the one 15-year-old Joseph Flood has endured. A crack addict and alcoholic, Joseph's mother spends every penny on her habits, which leaves them in a homeless shelter. His father's attempt to gain custody has been interrupted by his deployment to Iraq. His Aunt Shirley repeatedly pleads with Joseph to leave his mother and live with her family, but, despite all the embarrassment and heartbreak she has brought him, Joseph cannot bear to leave her alone. When Joseph is mistakenly arrested, however, Aunt Shirley takes him in. Told in Joseph's candid, present-tense voice, the tale makes plain the tangle of emotions that ties children to even the most incapable parent. Old beyond his years, he observes with a clear-eyed understanding the forces swirling around his fractured family. Moses's heart-wrenching story of a young man's struggle to cut ties with his mother and a dead-end life will leave readers profoundly moved. (Fiction. 12-16)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

Eight-year-old Sallie Gal desperately wants hair ribbons like her cousin Wild Cat's, but with her father away in the army, times are hard on Cumbo Road and her mother insists she work to pay for them. Sallie and her cousins already chop weeds in the cotton fields five days a week and a half-day on Saturday, but that money will go for school clothes. With initiative and diligence, Sallie achieves her goal, but not before she gets into trouble with her mama for taking charity and keeping a secret. Set in the rural North Carolina of the author's own childhood, this is a clear depiction of the mid-century world of African-American country folk. These are sharecroppers who shop from the car of the traveling salesman, and the children use the clothesline for a jump rope. But Sallie's need to dress as well as her cousin will be familiar to young readers. Adding to the appeal of the straightforward story and short chapters, Daly's numerous illustrations bring the characters to life. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
THE BAPTISM by Shelia P. Moses
Released: Jan. 9, 2007

This colloquial first-person novel is set in rural North Carolina in some unspecified time before the modern civil-rights era. In a vigorous, rambling voice, 12-year-old Leon, a mischievous, African-American boy, relates the dramatic events that take place the week before he and his more compliant twin brother are baptized. These vivid happenings include Leon's separation from Luke during a tornado and the theft of his mother's savings by his ne'er-do-well stepfather, Filthy Frank. Given the hefty length of some chapters, and stream-of-consciousness approach, the arrangement by the days of the week seems artificial. And the narrative is weighed down by a confusing explanation of characters and events from previous stories (the acclaimed books about Buddy Bush). Moses is forthright about the unsavory legacy of slavery: Leon's wealthy white grandfather owned his black grandmother, and the white man who murdered Leon's beloved father was never charged. This intimate portrait of family and community eventually hits its stride as Moses makes a distinctive contribution in her portrait of a southern black church from the inside out. Includes an enlightening author's note and acknowledgements. (Fiction. 11-14)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

"Grandpa and Uncle Buddy are my daddies and that's that. End of story." Problem is, Grandpa has died and Uncle Buddy has gone north, escaping the Klan, as reported in The Legend of Buddy Bush (2004). Twelve-year-old Pattie Mae Sheals heads to Harlem to find Uncle Buddy and convince him to come back home, where he belongs. Drawing on her own rich family life in North Carolina, Moses writes with affection about a place and time, 1947, while showing the dangers of being black in the South. With the help of a friend she makes in Harlem—Richard Wright, the writer—Pattie Mae begins to appreciate Uncle Buddy's need to be in Harlem, "where a man can be a man." What's special about this is Pattie Mae's voice. She is a likable narrator with spirit, and readers will enjoy spending time with her on Rehobeth Road, learning about her family, visiting Harlem, witnessing Uncle Buddy's trial and getting a lesson in southern justice. (Fiction. 10+)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

From 1846 to 1857, Dred Scott tried to get courts to recognize his right to freedom. His lawyers argued that since he had spent considerable time in free states he ought to be free, according to the Missouri Compromise. Lower courts went back and forth in a series of cases and appeals, and in 1857, in Scott v. Sanford, Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney read a 50-page, two-hour decision stating that African-Americans were not citizens and had no rights. Dred Scott remained a slave until a new owner granted him his freedom shortly thereafter. Moses's fictional slave narrative is an important work that gives voice to a pivotal American, whose case edged the nation closer to war. However, Scott's narrative voice seems disembodied; there's too little character development and historical context to make Dred Scott seem like a real person. Much is told, but there's no drama in the telling. Christensen's illustrations aptly complement the text, and the foreword by the great-grandson of Dred Scott will remind readers of Dred Scott's legacy. (author's note, the impact of the decision, chronology, bibliography) (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >