Read Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan Online


It's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father--he was a war hero--and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father's conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don't quite fit in.     People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother's artist friend, Perry, are in the South to "agitate" and tIt's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father--he was a war hero--and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father's conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don't quite fit in.     People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother's artist friend, Perry, are in the South to "agitate" and to shake up the dividing lines between black and white and blur it all to grey. As racial injustices ensue--sit-ins and run-ins with secret white supremacists--Sam learns to focus with her camera lens to bring forth the social injustice out of the darkness and into the light....

Title : Sources of Light
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780547076591
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sources of Light Reviews

  • Rosa
    2019-06-07 03:12

    As seems to be the case with many of my book reviews, Goodreads recommended Sources of Light to me. Due to the subject of the book I assumed it would be thicker and have smaller words. When I went to pick up the book from the library, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. My immediate thoughts were along the lines of “how can a book tackle an issue like social injustice in 240 pages?” Well, I learnt that a book doesn’t have to have millions of eloquent words to have a potent, long-lasting effect or to possess an inspiring message, because even in a few short sentences this book seemed to convey meaning. I read this book because it is about the subject social injustice, and also because it is told from a teenage girl’s point of view. Although the ideas were not spelled out using masses of words, each line seemed to carry significance. The text was economical yet it seemed as if every word was chosen for a reason, and the main character’s innocence was refreshing. The category this book completes is “a book about the subject we have studied in the first half of the year” - in this case social inequality. Sources of Light is set in the 1960s in the then racist province of Mississippi. It is a time of great inequality between black and white people - either there is anger and abuse, or white people pretend the black people do not exist. This is a revealing story of a girl who uses her camera to show the truth about racism and it is a powerful comment on the way people can act during a time of such high racial tension. Sam’s photos of riots and protests reveal how ordinary people who would usually act in an ordinary way are thrown into frenzy during rioting about racial discrimination. Shocking secrets about families are exposed – for example, (view spoiler)[ the father of one of Sam’s friends (seemingly a pleasant man) turns out to be involved in the Klu Klux clan.(hide spoiler)] The book highlights the warped sense of righteousness held by many in a time of racial tension and also exposed some shameful things that can happen. It was shocking but captivating, and also a caution never to let this occur again. It certainly held some similarities to our film study The Freedom Writers.“Sit on the truth too long and you mash the life right out of it.”This was my favourite quote because it really expresses how imperative it is to make yourself heard. If you “sit on the truth for too long” you forget, loose interest and give up. In modern society this is increasingly important because although we like to think we have overcome problems such as racism, we haven’t. It is very easy to distance ourselves from the truth about racism however it is still there. People need to stand up for their beliefs and not let them evaporate into nothing while they wait for a time to do something about it. This quote makes us all consider this. I didn’t have a favourite character as such within this book, however I thought the character of Willa-Mae was intriguing. Willa-Mae is Sam’s families’ maid however they treat her more like part of the family. She helps Sam’s mother with the housework; she doesn’t do it for her. There is an interesting comparison of Sam’s families’ liberal views compared to that of Stone’s family, where the maids are treated like dirt. The reason this character was so interesting is the way she seemed to have given up. You would think that a person in that situation would be angry, but Willa-Mae seemed to simply accept her situation. It was as if she had succumbed to racism, and this is a powerful message as it shows how it completely disempowering racism is. I think I learned a lot of things from this book, but especially that making yourself heard about issues like racism doesn’t have to be done in a big or flashy way. All Sam did was take pictures, which was in itself an act of controversy-for example when the policeman asked her to wipe her camera of images of a riot. Sam showed her photos to her class, her friends, to anyone who would listen. Many people wouldn’t listen and no, Sam does not end racism in her community. However, she took a stand and the people she leaves behind at the end of the novel will have learnt something from her legacy.While some could comment that the end of this book was rather anti-climatic, I would argue the opposite. I found the last few chapters particularly powerful. (view spoiler)[ When Sam reveals her state project (a collection of pictures that expose the social injustice of the town) to the class, she does not receive cheers, applause. She does not make them all have an epiphany to their blatant racism. Instead, people awkwardly stare at their desks and play with their hair. She receives a decidedly average grade from her teacher.(hide spoiler)] This goes to show that people try to distance themselves from the issue at hand and cannot see what is right in front of them. It also shows that some people don’t care, and some will never care. Although the students tried to act as if they didn’t care, it was obvious that Sam had opened their eyes to the racially prejudiced ways. While she didn’t get the A she was hoping for, she left a lasting impression on the students. The fact they were to afraid to admit it made it all the more potent. Overall this was a book filled with thought and insight. It was a revealingly simple look at social injustice during the 1960s, through the eyes of a teenage girl who wanted to make a difference.

  • Aaron
    2019-05-28 01:22

    It's 1962, and Samantha is settling into her new home in Mississippi. She and her mom moved there shortly after the death of her father in heroic action while serving in Vietnam. There new home was chosen for two reasons. First, it is close to Sam's father's hometown, which will allow them an opportunity to reconnect with family. The other reason is that Sam's mom has taken a position at a local college teaching art history.Sam quickly finds herself feeling out of place. She does well in school, but she definitely doesn't understand the mindset of the community, which still celebrates the Civil War. Fortunately, she can turn to her mother for support, but she also has a growing bond with the family's African American maid. It is this relationship that starts to open her eyes to the horrible disparity between the races that is evident.It isn't just the racial divisions that are highlighted in the book, though. Sam's mom is quickly viewed as being an outsider and an agitator. Besides working full time, Sam's mom is less concerned about making sure her hair, clothes and makeup are just right. Instead, she opts for an easy-to-maintain cropped hairdo, slacks whenever possible, and a clear avoidance of gloves unless they are needed to keep warm. To make matters even worse, she goes out of her way to give talks about art at the nearby African American school.Their relationship hits a minor bump in the road as Sam's mom starts to see a Perry Walker, who has come to town because of his career as a photojournalist and teacher at the same college as Sam's mother, He and Sam quickly build a connections around his camera as he teachers her how to make use of it. It is through the lens of the camera he gives her, that she gets to see the differences between the black and white residents of her new community. Perry isn't the only new man in Sam's life, though. She starts building a relationship with Stone, the older brother of one of her classmates. Stone's family is the richest in the town, and they have about everything. Of course, this causes them to look down on Sam and her mom because they are different, but also on the African Americans in the community for simply being lesser beings.McMullan has done an incredible job of capturing a sense of the time. Readers are drawn into Sam's world. While this results in some shocking moments as people such as Sam's teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, make statements that are horribly bigoted, but they are definitely representative of the time and the place in which the book is set.The author concludes the book with an interesting Author's Note that highlights that the book really constructs much of the content from real events that either she or those she knows experienced during the town. This only makes some of the horrifying events in the book more real for the reader. This is crucial as today's kids are looking at this time period as being that of their grandparent's youth.

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2019-06-21 02:24

    This has been a great read and I highly recommend it for young adults everywhere. It's a story about Mississippi in the 1960s and the fight for segregation and how hate and racism affects all relationships, working, family, friendships, and community.Samantha is 14 going on 15 and her after her dad dies in Vietnam, her mother accepts a teaching position in Mississippi. Samantha and her mom have different ideas about race, class, and segregation than the rest of Mississippi in 1962 tho and Samantha is about to find that out the hard way. After her mom goes to an African American college and gives a lecture, people begin attacking her mom in the papers, throwing stuff in their windows, and applying hateful graffiti to their front door. Samantha even witnesses the depths of southern hate right there in her local drug store while angry white men poor ketchup and drinks over the head of a young African American woman sitting at a counter. Samantha's school assignment is to do a report on the state of Mississippi and as she attempts to capture the state from behind a hand me down camera, racism and hate is all she sees. On top of the race riots that seem to be going on right in her backyard, Samantha is also dealing with her first crush.. to a boy that may possibly be one of those angry white men. Will her personal beliefs take precedence over young love? She must also deal with a budding relationship between her mother and a young photographer. Great novel. I only grew bored during one part. When Samantha visits her grandparents for Christmas... it really doesn't have much bearing on the rest of the tale... felt out of place. Otherwise, good tale and should be placed on children's summer reading lists this year.

  • Jan
    2019-06-18 03:16

    With exquisite prose the author tells the story of a 14 year old girl's awakening to the hate and prejudice that surround her in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. It's the beginning of the civil rights movement and Samantha (Sam) observes firsthand the beatings and arrests of black and white students doing peaceful protests as they sit together at lunch counters or attempt to register black citizens to vote. She sees all this through the lens of the camera given to her by her mom's friend and fellow college teacher. He teaches her that pictures tell a story, that "A person can shoot from her head, and she can shoot from her heart. The best pictures are shot from both." Sam starts to document what she sees happening around her when the violence increases as people start standing up, taking a stand, and speaking out for civil rights. Her father who died in Vietnam told her that she should always do the right thing. When she asked him how she's supposed to know what the right thing to do is, he told her, "You'll just know." Sam knows that fighting for the rights of others is doing the right thing. Highly recommended.

  • Emily West
    2019-05-30 05:24

    I read sources of light because it had one of the word it had to have iun the title, which was "light." I picked this book from the others b...moreI read sources of light because it had one of the word it had to have iun the title, which was "light." I picked this book from the others because the description on the back intreged me!I liked this book because the charector was sort of like me in ways. She loved to hang out with people, and she is very creative. I also liked how the book explained jeliousy, love anf hate.I recomend this book to any teenager looking for a good novel. i was HOOKED on this book, i finished it in on and a half days. I hope you have elized that this book is a good read and you look into reading it too!

  • Star
    2019-06-23 04:06

    Sam is a good kid and when she and her mom move to Jackson - close to where her dad grew up - she tries hard to fit in with the "popular crowd". However, she soon realizes something is way more important. She lives in the time of the civil rights movement and it's resistance, especially in the deep South. Sam uses the camera her mother's friend gives to her to capture the heart of Jackson - unvarnished and raw - showing the light and darkness within.This book was heartbreakingly beautiful and a snapshot of 1962 which was eerily accurate. It was so hard to read this at times, just the descriptions of the anger and hatred toward blacks and the ferocity of the Klan and just the "common" white person's ignorance. It upsets me that in this day and age, where we have a president of 'color' in office (regardless of your feelings about his politics), that people are still persecuted, assaulted, shamed, and intimidated for just being different. We should be proud of our differences, because without them, we wouldn't have the beauty we do in this world.We are all people, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, gender expression, or sexual orientation. We can't let fear and hate drive us - you can't believe everything you think. People aren't born hating others...they're taught to hate. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best with his epic speech, "I have a dream..." This is a poignant and gripping novel of that dream.

  • Amy
    2019-06-22 03:14

    Ugh. I wanted to like this. The tone and voice had an authentic feel and that made me think of "What I Saw and How I Lied," by Blundell, and I was hoping for an engrossing historical fiction to recommend to teens. It was not nearly as good as that though. It has some good moments, but I could not get past how instructional it was. Every time the horrors of the civil rights struggle in the deep south were described, the author had to tell us how and what to think about it. I might go as far to say that I felt like she was disrespecting the reader, especially since this is a YA book. Here's a particularly eye-rolling sentence, "If all those white men were this scared and angry over black people registering to vote, then voting must be a powerful, powerful weapon." Um, didactic much?

  • Indigo Cat
    2019-05-28 02:23

    What I like about Sam is that she isn't one of those 'perfect' protagonists. All of us have felt peer pressure, to be like the popular kids, and Sam is affected just like any other human being. She finally realizes that it doesn't matter; there are people out there, mostly black, who don't have the same rights as everyone else, have to say "Miss" or "Ms." or "Mr." just because of their skin color. And, she captures the violence and the love between people with her camera. What she can't at the moment comprehend and allow herself to believe, she can perceive later with her photograph. "What the mind rejects as ugly it later perceives as beautiful once the underlying patterns have been recognized." (pg. 212) Sam finds that "pictures are a form of communication." (pg. 223) She fights the hate by capturing it, drawing it with light, and showing it to the world.

  • Colleen
    2019-06-22 00:27

    This book was so moving. I really have never grasped the nature and influence of the cruelty toward African-Americans. I never really knew that so close to present day, there was still such severe racism. I like how the character of Stone is so, well...broken. He knows what he wants to think, but he also sees the results and is afraid of them. He can see that Sam and her mother's point of view about racism is right. His family is on the other side and he is torn between. I really like how the author tied in the photography aspect. I really respect authors who can understand more to art than just the art of words. Seeing how powerful Sam's pictures ended up being, the close ties between characters, and also the opposite clashing relationships really made this book powerful.

  • Lauren Elise
    2019-06-22 03:31

    Around three years ago I pulled this off the library shelf expecting some sort of bad, sloppy, contemporary novel (keep in mind I had not done any research on this book previously), and was pleasantly surprised with what was really in the book- Conservative South, 1960s. People whom are human rights activists & feminists alike will absolutely fall in love with our protagonist, 14 year Sam Thompson, a liberal raised girl who's lost her father, and soon, finds comfort in photography, which is encouraged by her mother's new found friend, Perry. Through photography, Sam learns ironically enough that the world does see the world in shades of grey, but in black and white. If you liked The Help, you will fall in love with this. 5 stars

  • Miriam
    2019-06-07 03:07

    I didn't like this book that much. It seemed as if there wasn't a plot. Also, it took more than half the book to get to the climax. The book was very vague. The author didn't use show don't tell, which made the book very boring, but it also made the book seem very fictional. The main character had many different personalities throughout the book, and the personality changes were very noticeable. It didn't flow and Stone was always changing his mind on integration. Overall, this book should be rewritten, because the story and the ideas are fine, but the way the author conveys it is horrible.

  • Alexandra Carpenter
    2019-05-29 03:31

    While the writing itself wasn't anything special, I thought it had a really unique storyline for a YA novel. It reminded me of The Help, only from a teenage perspective and with photography as the vehicle through which the racist behavior was made public, not writing. The portions of the plot involving Stone seemed really predictable. There was also an overload of clichés in the writing, but still a good story overall.

  • Mrs. Cubby Culbertson
    2019-06-21 00:32

    Almost abandoned this one. But when it gripped, it gripped! So many informational books to tie into! I think I see a book display in our future to promote the book as a SCJBA & to promote this time in our history.

  • Raegan
    2019-06-17 23:09

    I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I loved the idea that a camera was your eye to the world. I also loved to get more knowledge on the racial injustice that took place in the past. I though that this book was well written and well worth the read.

  • Sharon
    2019-06-21 01:23

    Excellent YA book detailing one summer in the life of a young teen in Jackson Mississippi in 1962 and the racial tension of that time.

  • Elisabeth
    2019-06-03 06:16

    Might seem boring at first, but keep reading! This is a very good read.

  • Laurie
    2019-06-19 06:16

    This is a juvenile fiction book. I'll confess I just did a quick skim of the flyleaf and thought I had picked up a book about a young girl interested in photography. What I got was an intense, potent narrative of life during the racial strife in Mississippi during the early 60's.Samantha is 14 years old, living with her mother in Jackson, Mississippi. Her father died a hero in Vietnam and having no relations on her mother's side, they have moved to be near her father's family. Her mother is a professor of art history at the university. A slightly bohemian figure, Sam's mom doesn't fit in with the bouffant, shirtwaist dress crowd of her friends' mothers. Sam herself doesn't fit in with the girls in her freshman class at the high school, still caught in that in-between world of not being a little girl and not yet being grown up. While the other girls in her class want to do things like practice kissing and writing to celebrities, Sam still likes to hula hoop and collect bugs in a jar. Until the night she meets her classmate's brother Stone.Sam's mother meets Perry, a new professor in her department who teaches photography and they develop a relationship. Perry introduces Sam to photography and she discovers it is something she loves. Through Perry, Sam and her mother get involved in the racial issues of the day, helping black people to register to vote and sticking up for black people in the segregated shops in town. Unfortunately, Stone's father is the head of the White Citizens'Council, a KKK-type organization without the hoods and capes.In the midst of her blooming romance with Stone who, unlike his father, believes in the rights of all people, Sam is thrown into the middle of riots, political unrest, and even murder, capturing much of it on the camera that Perry has given her. Stone, trying to somehow stop the things his father is doing, and not knowing all of his father's sins, keeps showing up during the horrors, appearing to be with the other side. Sam doesn't know what to think and confronts Stone with proof of what his father has done. In the end Sam and her mother end up basically being run out of town through her mother's firing and inability to find another job. However, in leaving, they are moving toward a better life so while you ache for what they have been through, you rejoice in what they are moving toward.Booklist rates this book as being for grades 5-8, but School Library Journal puts it at grades 7-10. Given the subject matter and sometimes graphic descriptions I would have to agree with SLJ. While this is a work of fiction, I find it to be a relatively accurate accounting of the happenings of the 60's from James Meredith, the first black student at the University of Mississippi to Medgar Evers' assassination. I would call it a must-read for anyone interested in the history of segregation in the south.

  • Donna
    2019-06-02 23:31

    This one almost ended up being a DNF but, literally, right at the middle page of the book, a plot element caught my eye that made me want to keep pushing through. Now, I can't remember what that element was. I can say it was a piece of action in an otherwise rather inactive story. It was a catalyst enough to keep me turning the pages.But unfortunately I didn't have any kind of "OMG I'm so glad I kept reading!" revelations. The story was okay and I liked the writing enough but I don't think it popped. There wasn't too much that stood out, that struck me as being really powerful. I think it's because I felt the story was rather run-of-the-mill. It's the story of a Yankee white girl moving down to Jackson, Mississippi where outcasts are just as unwanted as anyone with a hint of color in their skin. Unfortunately I just didn't feel it was original enough.There was a major historical element in the book, the sit-in at the drug store counter, that the MC was placed into but I just didn't feel it. I didn't feel the hum of the air or the hatred in the waitress's eyes or the fear at being caught "on the wrong side" of the fight. It was a girl hidden behind a camera documenting an event that others wanted to happen but they didn't want proof of.On the other side I liked the growth of Sam throughout the story. You get a real sense of just how immature she is for her age at the beginning of the book and how self-conscious she was about her differences from everyone else. You wanted Stone to not be the Kreeper that kept on being insinuated because Sam liked him so much. But at the same time you wanted to slap her upside the head because of the way she kept convincing herself that he wasn't bad. By the end you could see her as an adult. By staying hidden behind that lens, she developed the backbone she needed to embrace her differences, to take a stand against the popular opinion, to work for what's right. You can actually see her cracking her way out of the shell wrapped around her and I loved her character for it.But ultimately I just couldn't get myself involved in the story. It's not that I wasn't interested in the events going on, or the turmoil going on in Sam's life. It didn't matter how much I wanted to get engrossed; I just couldn't. I don't really think there's a legitimate reason for me not too. The writing was pretty good and as I said, I loved Sam. But I just wasn't feeling it. I think I felt it lacked passion for what was going on outside of Sam. Sam was a pure focus with everything else taking second chair. Maybe there was too much focus put on Sam and not enough on what was going on around her. Maybe reading it I couldn't get myself far enough out of her head to really feel what was going on. I'm not sure. I do think a lot of people would really like this book but it wasn't for me.

  • Int'l librarian
    2019-06-21 02:09

    McMullan can make me feel warm and fuzzy, and then furious, all in a matter of a few pages. It may be hard to appreciate the level of racial hatred and fear in the US during the 1960s. But McMullan’s dialogue and description do well to personalize this shameful chapter of US history.14-year-old Sam and her mom are transplants from the North, struggling against the firmly rooted traditions of Mississippi family privilege and caste. The struggle plays out in parlors and dining rooms – Christmas with Grandma, conversations with bitter Aunt Ida, and dinner with the McLemores. I was sure Mr. McLemore was a voice of reason until he started reminding Sam’s mom of her proper place. The scenes of busywork at school are another infuriating strong point: it’s high school taught like kindergarten. Conformity and control are the most important lessons, and the catfights among the girls take priority over any other form of learning. McMullan creates plenty of interesting teachable moments herself. She lived in Mississippi during the time she writes about, and her family was involved in civil rights actions. I now know more about the Citizens Council, James Meredith, Eudora Welty, and how different TV celebrities closed out their shows. Sam is the narrator, which makes it tougher to present the pain within the black community. Sam’s maid, Willa Mae, provides that perspective. She has one of the best lines of the book, in response to deflecting hatred with love; “I’m not there yet.” The line between pure and sinister is drawn thick and bold – standard young adult clarity. Perry, the freelance photographer, is the brightest knight in shining armor. Stone McLemore, Sam’s prospective boyfriend, provides some helpful ambiguity. My only significant complaint hinges upon a next-to-impossible sequence of coincidences to resolve the climax. I’m not sure what else McMullan could have arranged, though. And I’m glad she figured out something: Sources of Light is a brilliant story.

  • Krystal Floyd
    2019-06-14 00:10

    Rated 1 - 10Quality of Writing:Descriptions: 7 - Most of the descriptions were good but I wish that the descriptions of how she learned to take pictures and how the pictures were developed were better described. I’ve read other books that describe it better and taking pictures weren’t even the main focus of them. Words: 5Dialogue: 5Pace: 4Ease of Reading: 10Enjoyability: 5 - How it is written makes it feel very unemotional which I actually think is pretty cool in some books. You don’t feel overwhelmed by the over dramatization but sometimes it’s not a good thing because then you don’t feel any emotion for the story. Chapters: 1 - It had some really long chapters that you just wanted to end. Plot:Begining: 6Middle: 2 - It was getting really slow for me and I was actually tempted to just stop reading but thankfully I continued because the last part of it was the best. End: 10Development: 7Insightfulness: 1Completeness: 7 - It was focused on the main character’s point of view but it made all the the other’s lives feel too empty because they didn’t explain themselves fully to the girl. Over all Plot: 7Characters:Personalities: 6Depth: 4Development: 8 - The main character developed really well throughout the story though it didn’t seem that anyone else did. Realisticness: 9 - At the end in the author’s note she says that’s lots of it is similar to her own experiance when she was young and those around her and you can feel that throughout the book. Enjoyabiltiy: 7Insightfulness: 3“Writers thrive on conflict- hopefully in our work and not in our lives. Our job is to reflect and interpret trouble. After a time, we should become skilled at finding the shadows so that perhaps our readers may recognize the light.”

  • John Clark
    2019-06-09 03:12

    Your clothes are hand-me-downs from your cousin and make you look odd when you go to school. Your father was killed in Vietnam and you've been told he was a hero. After he dies, you and your mother move from familiar Pittsburgh to Jackson, Mississippi where Mom will teach at a small college. This is our introduction to fourteen year old Sam. She tries to fit in at her new school, but it isn't long before she starts to realize that things in Jackson aren't anything like what she was used to in Pittsburgh. The pervasiveness of racism is something she initially tries to ignore, but not so her mother. When Mom starts dating Perry, another instructor at the college, their shared view of the wrongness of racism, coupled with Perry's encouragement of Sam's interest in photography (he gives her an older camera and teaches her how to develop her own pictures), force her to look at her new town with more mature eyes. Her life gets even more complicated when she starts liking Stone McLemore, older brother of the most popular girl in her freshman class. Stone's father is extremely racist and as the relationship between the two teens progresses, Stone has to look in the mirror more carefully that he might like. At the same time, Sam's mom and Perry are receiving verbal and physical threats because of their actions against racism. The book comes to a shattering climax that's extremely real. This is an excellent example of what historical fiction can be. It's a blend of recent history, family dynamics, young romance and coming of age. While it's been out for a while, I'd still encourage school and public libraries to add it because of its quality and historical accuracy.

  • Ryan
    2019-06-15 00:29

    Certainly quite readable and an interesting perspective on the south during the early 60's. The author did a good job presenting the dual nature of - well, of all of us but of the people in Sam's world of Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60's. How can someone who appears so kind, generous and likable be so filled with hate that they would beat someone to death simply for the color of their skin? We see it everyday, even in our "enlightened" times - the inconsistency baffles me. I can see that the South was a boiling pot of this inconsistency for years and that the structures imposed, like Jim Crow, while rigid, were a house of cards - once one card came down, the rest would fall and the result was violence. Coming on the heels of reading "One Crazy Summer", the inconsistencies of civil rights haunts me - Dr. King's peaceful forgiveness and the hatred focused at the marchers, Malcolm X and the Black Panther's militant objection to white America's oppression and the peaceful nature of the community center the Delphine and her sisters attended. A realization that nothing that is truly important is simple.The character of Ms. Jenkins, Sam's white, angry older teacher whose approach to education was to literally white-wash it with her own small ideas, opinions and beliefs, perhaps hoping to fend off the uncomfortable changes around her, brought to mind the strong and peaceful African American teacher at Delphine's community center, whose approach was not simply to embrace change but to lead it. I would have wanted my children to have Delphine's teacher.

  • Maureen Milton
    2019-06-02 03:32

    I picked this up because a friend had read & liked it and because it would augment the senior civil rights curriculum. While the writing is plain and direct, the story of 14-year-old Samantha and her mother who move to Jackson, Mississippi after her father's death in Vietnam in 1962 is engaging, if a bit flawed.Sam's mother is a college art history professor whose professional dress & work set her & her daughter apart from the neighboring matching mother-daughter sets of belles. Although initially suspicious of her mother's new beau, Margaret warms up to him after he teaches her about photography. Through her relationships with school pals and a boyfriend, her mother & her boyfriend in a place where there is segregation, fear, and violence, Sam, of course, develops her photographs and her conscience.Photos play a pivotal part in the resolution of a murder and the author weaves the photography motif in more-or-less effectively throughout the novel. There are also plenty of clunky, heavy-handed morals that clang through the text: "I was ready to be mad at the whole state of Mississippi, but then out of nowhere I looked up the road, then up at the sky, and thought, Thank you. Without all the bad, I wouldn't recognize the good." Also, the characters are sometimes thin devices to serve the plot, so their deaths and departures lack depth and feeling. Nonetheless, the desire to learn the truth about Sam's belief in the place and her experiences there kept me reading.I'll be interested to see what my Senior readers think of it.

  • Rebekah
    2019-06-02 23:32

    I really liked this book. It was very different from other historical fiction I've read, but different in a good way. FIRST SENTENCE:The year after my father died, my mother took a job teaching at a small college in Jackson, Mississippi.IF YOU LIKED...The Berlin Boxing ClubOut of My MindDivergentThe Fault in Our StarsThe Taming of the ShrewAllegiantFlippedThe Help...YOU MIGHT LIKE Sources of Light.

  • Megan
    2019-06-26 23:29

    1962 was a year of big changes for Samantha (Sam). Her father died fighting in Vietnam. Even knowing that he was a war hero doesn't make Sam feel any better that he's gone. Sam and her mother move to Jackson, Mississippi, where racial tension is heating up. Sam's not quite comfortable with her mother's new boyfriend, Perry, but when she and her mother start getting threats, Sam's grateful to have Perry around.Perry gives Sam a camera and teaches her about photography. Sam learns that a camera can sometimes capture the truth behind a situation or a person better than the human eye can. She uses her camera to document a sit-in at a soda counter and it reveals the hatred some Mississipi residents hold toward their black neighbors. But can the camera help her figure out what kind of person her crush, Stone McLemore, really is?There were many tough issues for young people in the 1960s, and Margaret McMullan shows that there were no easy solutions. Sam and her mother wanted to bring racial equality to Mississippi, but how much could they do before they put their lives in danger? Is it worth risking their lives? Sources of Light was nominated for a Young Hoosier Book Award and is well worth checking out and talking about.If you enjoy civil rights stories like this one, you might also enjoy Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. If you like stories about photography, check out Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick.

  • Nicole
    2019-05-31 04:17

    I was less than impressed with the first half of this book. It felt like a revamping of an old Judy Blume novel with "Gee, I wish I could wear a bra" and "He was so dreamy". But as the race relations (or really, race tensions) entered into the picture, I became more and more engaged. As Sam developed an awareness of the world around her, I developed an awareness of her as a character. Because, frankly, until she grew a social consciousness, Sam was pretty darn boring. Nuts and bolts:I found the narrative voice uneven. Sometimes she spoke with the wisdom of a 40 year old woman looking back on her wayward youth and sometimes she was the naive 14 year old girl of the moment.I liked the photography business and I thought McMullan handled it well. It was referenced often but not to the point of overkill.The entire premise of the book can be summed up in this quote, which came about 20 pages from the end."How could people you know...working people, neighbors, how could they do these kinds of things? How can murder happen in the everyday?Overall, a safe older-middle grade or younger-YA look at the civil rights uprising in Mississippi. Gritty without being graphic, emotional without being saccharine, safe without being castrated.

  • Terrie
    2019-06-21 23:13

    It has been a while since a book has moved me as much as this one did. Fourteen-year-old Sam (short for Samantha) has already experienced tragedy. Her father died a hero in Vietnam. A year later, the summer of 1962, she and her mother moved to Jackson, Mississippi to be closer to her father’s family. She states, “The summer before I learned about love and hate all in the same year. The summer before it all happened.” Racial tensions are at its peak in the south. Sam’s mother, a professor of art history at the local college, begins dating Perry Walker, a photography professor. He gives Sam one of his small cameras and teaches her how to use it. Sam begins to see the cruel world around her through the camera lens. Perry and Sam’s mother seek ways to help end segregation. Even though Sam is white, she becomes caught in the crossfire of various horrific events – her camera is her only weapon. Tragedy strikes once again. The characters are convincing, the historical elements are accurate, and Sam’s explanations are powerful. Excellent historical fiction about the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Tina
    2019-06-11 07:08

    Mississippi, 1962. Samantha & her mother have moved to Jackson, MS - during some of the worst times for civil unrest. The civil rights movement is at one of its highest points in many events were happening. Sam's father died a hero in the Vietnam War and they were trying to get closer to his family. Sam's mother is a professor at the college, she meets Perry, a photographer who introduces Sam to the art and gives her one of his old cameras. Sam discovers that she is able to lose herself behind the lens and is actually involved in recording several important events in Jackson. Sam, Perry and her mother seek ways to help with the segregation of Jackson...helping people register to vote, standing up when they felt someone had been wronged and just doing the right thing. Great historical fiction about the Civil Rights Movement.....many parts of the story made me feel that I was right there! The author note at the end of the book was very interesting and just added to the story.

  • Peyton Mcallister
    2019-05-28 01:08

    I read this book because my language arts teacher said that I had to read a book with certain words in the titel, in this case it has the word light which was one of the words. I also like the cover of the book, it looked very interesting to read. Also when I read the summary on the back of the book it sounded like a good book.I thought Sources of Light was a good book. At the beggining I didnt know if I was going to like but the further I read the more I liked it. I thought it was odd and intersting at some parts, but by the end of the book i got all the parts and I understood why tose parts were like that.I think teenagers should read this book. Its very good and some teenagers can relate to the book. I related to the book in some parts. So if your looking for a good book to read, you should check out this book!

  • Gemma
    2019-06-08 03:18

    I thought this was a pretty well done book. I'd never heard/seen it before I picked it up at the library, and I am glad that I did.The writing was good. I liked it. It was simple, but it wasn't going for choppy or highly insightful. It says it like it is, and it's good in that way. It's also very good for setting up the characterization of Sam, the main character. Most of what we know about her comes from the way she views everything around her. I appreciated that.The story and the setting were both nice. It kind of reminded me of the Secret Life of Bees. Not quite as atmospheric and wimsical, but similar to it. The themese of anti-segregation seemed a bit preachy at times, but overall I think they were well executed. Its one flaw was that it could have done characterization of supporting characters a little better than it did. Characters like Stone, Mary-Alice and the mother could have been done a little better. But then, it's short. So maybe that's okay.