White Pelican Press (2015)
Reviewed by Faryal Jabbar (age 14) for Reader Views (01/16)
“A Time To Be Brave” by Holly Moulder is a heartening story during the 1910s, in Montgomery, Alabama where segregation is strong and women wanted a voice. Theo Bickle and Macie Grant are tangled in the middle of everything. Theo is a colored boy whose mama owns the only colored funeral home in Montgomery. Theo is scared of many things, but in the moment, no one else is braver. Macie is a white girl who is seemingly afraid of nothing with a suffragist mother and a hotheaded grandfather with Alzheimer’s disease. Trouble starts to stir as the friends start to face problems, Ira Fickler a colored hater is on Theo and his family’s tail and Macie’s grandfather is getting no better as she experiences suffrage. Meanwhile the Wright Brothers are opening a flight school right on top of them.
The book was somewhat like a puzzle, each bit of new information made the puzzle more interesting as a new image and story came from adding more pieces. The author wrote clearly addressing all the problems in the book. The transition between the points of view of the different characters was smooth and distinct. The plot was always moving leaving no time to be bored. The way the facts and tone of voice were written makes you feel like you are there in the 1910s experiencing the issues and pleasures of the time. The characters felt so real and their thoughts and actions were so easy to relate to. I felt myself getting upset while Macie was frustrated, and understanding of Theo’s feelings. “Sometimes my heart got filled up to the brim with love for my mama until it spilled right out my eyes…I wiped my face real fast so she didn’t see”-pg. 81. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew the characters.
I have never read anything quite like this before and the book has taught me more about the life and people of the past in a way a textbook could never do. For people interested in the history of the 1910s and early airplanes, this book is especially recommended, but I think anyone who likes a good story will enjoy, however the book is aimed at elementary and middle school students.
“A Time To Be Brave” by Holly Moulder will give you a look into another time. You’ll laugh and hold your breath with Macie and Theo, leaving you reminiscing and wanting more.