Throwback Thursday: The Dark Thirty

Posted October 28, 2021 by Richetta in #ownvoices, Book Reviews, Thoughts & Ideas, Throwback Thursday, Young Adult / 2 Comments

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Throwback Thursday:  The Dark ThirtyThe Dark-Thirty by Patricia McKissack
Published by Random House Children's Books on November 24, 2010
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Historical / United States / 20th Century, Juvenile Fiction / Short Stories, Juvenile Fiction / Thrillers & Suspense
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

This Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award Winner from beloved author Patricia McKissack offers a “stellar collection” of “ten original stories, all with a foundation in African-American history or culture” (School Library Journal).
In that special half-hour of twilight—the dark-thirty—there are stories to be told. Mesmerizing and breathtakingly original, these tales are inspired by African American history and range from the time of slavery to the civil rights era. With her extraordinary gift for suspense, Patricia C. McKissack has created a heart-stopping collection of lasting value, a book not quickly forgotten.
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
An NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
An IRA Teachers’ Choice

Today’s Throwback Thursday is for the Spooky Season lovers. So if you grew up as a pre-teen/teen in the nineties then I know there is a good chance that you have heard of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alan Schwartz. I still have a hesitancy to look at the cover of that book. (chills- you see how you DON’T see the cover in this post?!) But you may or may not have heard of The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural Paperback by Patricia McKissack.

For those obsessed with scary stories

I think I got this book from a Scholastic Book Fair. However I procured it, I was so excited to see scary stories that were based in African American legends and folklore. As a pre-teen and teen, I could not get enough of scary stories, folklore and urban legends. I not only read them, but I had a reputation for being a pretty good storyteller on long bus rides, at camp and at bonfires. So I was always on the lookout for a new story that would scare the boo boo out of my friends for fun.

So The Dark Thirty was perfect for me! Because it is part of the African American oral tradition of passing stories from one generation to another. It takes the realities of Southern Blacks and adds a supernatural twist. I’m also a folklore and history buff. This was one of the first times that I saw a collections of African American scary stories.

Racism, Jim Crow and Ghosts

From my recollection, these stories are pretty scary. For those who are unfamiliar, I guess I would liken it to a parallel from Lovecraft Country. If you have seen the first episode of that show, then I would say remember how the sheriff and his deputies were actually scarier than the literal monsters? Yeah The Dark Thirty is kind of like that. It draws on racism and Jim Crow.

Stories, History and Culture

The stories begin during the time of slavery and then touch on various times of history including the Civil Rights Movement. One story I remember was The Woman in the Snow, which was set during the Montgomery Boycott. The Gingi freaked me out. Some of the stories also feature African folklore and proverbs.

By the way if you were wondering where the title comes from… the dark thirty is the 30 minutes before the sun goes down and you need to be in the house.

What is your favorite scary story collection?

Previous Thorwback Thursdays

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