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From a "New York Times"-bestselling author comes an innovative novel about the Civil War draft riots in New York City. Tackling hotbed issues of war, race, justice, and equality, Myers chronicles this forgotten moment in history in the same groundbreaking style of his "Monster."
Walter Dean Myers's mother died when he was young, leaving his father to raise eight children alone. When he was three, Walter was taken in by a nearby couple, Herbert and Florence Dean, who moved with him to Harlem, New York. A speech impediment contributed to his unhappy time in school, although he did love to read and write. When he was 16 he won a prize in an essay contest, which encouraged him to continue his writing although he eventually dropped out of school and joined the Army. Afterward, he held a series of jobs before becoming a full-time writer. His first book for children, WHERE DOES THE DAY GO?, was published in 1969 after it won a competition sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children. Myers has been awarded the Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contributions to young adult literature.
"Another innovative work by an author constantly stretching the boundaries of what fiction can be, and a natural for readers' theater in the classroom."
"Myers crafts a sympathetic cast, which is excellent fodder for conversations about race and class, and the book is also a choice pick for reluctant readers who will relish both format and pacing. Once again, this master storyteller has delivered."
"Readers should find this story moving--a direct result of Myers's empathetic portrayal of those on both sides."
From the Publisher
In RIOT, bestselling and Newbery Award-winning YA author Walter Dean Myers creates a stirring and complex historical novel that addresses issues of race, class, and violence. Set in New York City during The Civil War, RIOT depicts the race riots that broke out after President Lincoln instituted a military draft from which the rich could buy exemptions. Seen from the perspective of a half-black half-Irish teenager, RIOT deals with the seething emotions at play at a time when America threatened to fracture into pieces.
The Civil War is raging and in a desperate effort to find more recruits, the Union begins a draft - a draft with a difference. The wealthy can pay $300 to be released from their obligation, but the poor must go and fight and die. In New York City, the recently arrived Irish are the hardest hit by the draft and during the long hot days of July the city explodes in a rash of arson, marches, attacks, and lynchings, with the immigrant Irish taking out their anger on the black inhabitants of the city. Fourteen-year-old Claire, the daughter of an Irish mother and a black father, has never had to choose between the two sides of the family - she has never had reason to consider her own identity. When she learns that a friend of hers is in danger, she decides to go to her aid, but by venturing out on the streets, she puts her own life at risk.        Myers's use of the screenplay format allows his readers a birds-eye view of the four hot days in July when New York City burned, using multiple points of view from both sides of the conflict.