Porch Stories, by Bruce Nelson
My review: ★★★★
This is a collection of stories primarily drawn from the author’s childhood in a small black community in Arizona. There are also some older stories from his grandparents, and a couple of poems. It is a quick and delightful read; I got through it in under a couple of hours.
The stories immerse you in life as a black child in what was probably 1950s America. His grandparents’ story is probably from the late 1800s. (No dates are given.) I loved the innocent and earnest viewpoint of a child matter-of-factly going through his life. You hear a bit about how black people were treated at that time along the way, though the book does not dwell on racial issues. My favorite story in the book was the last one, “Rice Spider,” which reminds you just how hard and how cleverly a child will work to obtain something they set their heart on. Overall the stories are sweet, and give a glimpse into the storyteller’s life.
This is a good read for any adult, and would also be suitable reading material for middle- or high-school students learning American black history.