What means more, shared values or shared blood? Maxie’s choice changes everything in this acclaimed companion to The Rock and the River.
Bad things happen in the heat, they say.
Maxie knows all about how fire can erupt at a moment’s notice, especially now, in the sweltering Chicago summer of 1968. She is a Black Panther—or at least she wants to be one. Maxie believes in the movement. She wants to belong. She wants to join the struggle. But everyone keeps telling her she’s too young. At fourteen, she’s allowed to help out in the office, but she certainly can’t help patrol the streets. Then Maxie realizes that there is a traitor in their midst, and if she can figure out who it is, it may be her ticket to becoming a real Panther. But when she learns the truth, the knowledge threatens to destroy her world. Maxie must decide: Is becoming a Panther worth paying the ultimate price?
Magoon (Camo Girl) lyrically explores political and social uprisings in 1960s Chicago through the eyes of 14-year-old Maxie Brown, who is determined to join the Black Panthers: "The Panthers are going to change everything. I've known it all along, but now I can feel it all the way through me." Between the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King's assassination, and the Vietnam War, it's both a dangerous and energizing time to be alive. Maxie lives in poverty with her older brother, Raheem, who could soon be drafted, and her overworked mother, who brings home deadbeat boyfriends. She splits her days between wandering the neighborhood with her friends; navigating a tumultuous relationship with her love interest, Sam, whose brother was killed by the police; and volunteering at the Panther office. When two members go to jail, the chapter leader asks her to look out for a traitor within the party, but her discovery forces her to reassess her loyalties. This haunting story features fully developed characters, poetic images, and a conflicted heroine whose substance mirrors the complexities of her era. Ages 8 12.