The author is described on page 6 of the novel, "Mildred Taylor was born on September 13, 1943, in Jackson, Mississippi. Like the Logan family in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the Taylor family had lived in Mississippi since the days of slavery. That was very long ago, before 1865! However, when Mildred was just a tiny baby, her parents decided to make a new life in the North. The Taylors moved to Toledo, Ohio. They had a large family and many friends there. The family was close and loving. The Taylors often took the long car trip back to Mississippi. They wanted to visit all their relatives. These trips were not happy all the time because black people and white people were kept apart in many parts of the South. This policy was called segregation. To segregate means to keep apart. Black people and white people could not use the same rest rooms, water fountains, or playgrounds. Blacks and whites had to eat in different parts of restaurants, too. Segregation made it very hard for black people to travel. It was hard on people’s hearts and minds."
Discovering themes that operate in stories is a big undertaking for the sixth grade. As rules of thumb, themes must be complete sentences, contain no character names, and contain no metaphors. Themes are statements which would be true in the world of the novel from which they come. In general, if a statement works as a theme, it could appear on a bumper sticker or a t-shirt, delivering an important lesson or idea from the story.