Title: A Yellow Watermelon
Author: Ted M. Dunagan
Publisher: Junebug Books
Concepts: poverty, discrimination, human resources, wages, property rights
Review: Upon their first meeting, Ted Dillon and Jake Johnson developed a bond based on mutual respect and trust that grew stronger over time, fueled largely by their generous hearts and adventurous spirits. Yet life in rural Alabama during the 1940s placed some big obstacles in their way that forced them to hide their friendship and stymied their efforts to help each other.
Ted, a twelve-year old white boy, had just started to awaken to the disturbing realities of racial discrimination and segregation, but he refused to abide by the strict set of norms that others around him followed. Jake, an older black man who had escaped from prison and found a job with barely-tolerable working conditions in Ted's small town, knew the difficulties of living in the segregated South only too well. Along the way, Ted befriended a black boy his age named Poudlum. Backed by the threat of a cotton-picker boycott, they integrated the town's cotton field and also stood up to the bigotry of the town's most powerful man.
Together, these three unlikely friends found themselves enmeshed in an adventure of intrigue and danger that seemed to grow bigger by the day. With its colorful prose, exciting plot, and rich historical context, this novel successfully manages to embed an important reminder of the deplorable treatment of blacks in the deep South before the Civil Rights era into an entertaining, action-packed story. Thoroughly ingrained into the plotline are some important economic principles related to poverty, decent wages, and property rights. This engrossing book is sure to please even the most discerning of readers.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children