Ann Towell Grease Town

ISBN 13: 9780887769832

Grease Town

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9780887769832: Grease Town
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A heartbreaking history of prejudice, family ties, and the loss of innocence.When twelve-year-old Titus Sullivan decides to run away to join his Uncle Amos and older brother, Lem, he finds an alien and exciting world in Oil Springs, the first Canadian oil boomtown of the 19th century.

The Enniskillen swamp is slick with oil, and it takes enterprising folk to plumb its depths. The adventurers who work there are a tough lot of individuals. In this hard world, Titus becomes friends with a young black boy, the child of slaves who came to Canada on the Underground Railroad. When tragedy strikes in the form of a race riot, Titus's loyalties are tested as he struggles to deal with the terrible fallout.

Though the characters are fictitious, the novel is based on a race riot that occurred in Oil Springs, Ontario, on March 20, 1863. Grease Town is historical fiction at its finest.

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About the Author:

ANN TOWELL was born in Chatham, Ontario, and grew up in Wallaceburg. She was co-finalist, with her husband, world-renowned photographer Larry Towell, for the Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Award for work on the Mennonites, a segment that appeared in the 1994 summer edition of Descant magazine. Her first children's novel The Hollow Locust Trees was published by Black Moss Press in 1998. She has four children: Moses, Naomi, Noah, and Isaac and a granddaughter, River Annabelle. She lives near Shetland, Ontario, on a 75-acre farm.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 4-8–In 1863, oil has recently been discovered in Oil Springs, Ontario, and a variety of people, black and white, and from many different walks of life, are settling there. Orphans Lem and Titus Sullivan live in their aunt's stuffy and regimented house. When 19-year-old Lem sets out for Oil Springs, 13-year-old Titus stows away in his brother's wagon and unwittingly scores a bumpy ride into a new and eventful chapter in his life. Towell skillfully creates the setting of this mucky little town and its colorful inhabitants. Titus, who narrates, has a voice that is believable and uncontrived, which lends an air of authenticity to the story. Supporting characters are equally strong and well developed, particularly Moses, the son of former slaves who becomes Titus's friend. Racism has followed the freed slaves into Canada, close to Chatham (of Underground Railroad fame). Living in a shantytown of sorts, black families are attacked one night in the culmination of a race riot. Titus witnesses the events and is traumatized to the point of speechlessness, and it's questionable whether he will find his tongue and be able to testify. Towell has created a strong narrator and a compelling plot.Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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