This is the story of two Union soldiers who find each other, injured, on a battlefield in Georgia. Say is white and Pink is black. Pink carries Say to the home of Pink’s mother to recover from his injuries. Pink and his mother’s selfless gifts shine throughout the story. Pink’s mother dies at the hands of marauders, then, when Pink and say are captured, Pink is hanged. This is not a picture book for early childhood.
This story gives early elementary students a close view of the war, inequality, and life during the late 1800s. It opens the door to discussions of racial inequality, but also reasons why Say never learned to read. It is heart rending and beautifully told through the voice of a descendant of Say. Everything Polacco writes is excellent, and this is an outstanding example of her gift. Though this is a second hand story, it is one handed down through Polocco's family, making it an excellent example of literary/narrative non-fiction.