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Extended Audio Sample Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue Audiobook, by Julius Lester Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,329 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julius Lester Narrator: Lizan Mitchell, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Marc Damon Johnson, Tom Stechschulte, John McDonough, Julia Gibson, Michael Early Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2017 ISBN: 9781470355937
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As did his father before him, Pierce Butler treats his plantation slaves like family. But massive gambling debts force him to sell 429 “family” members. When the auction begins, torrential rain falls—not stopping until the final slave is sold the next day. The ominous rainfall prompts these words: “This ain’t rain. This is God’s tears.” Based on the largest slave auction in US history, this poignant montage is the fictionalized account of that 1859 Georgia tragedy. All the shrieks and groans, the betrayal and fury, the sorrow and regret are here in the stark, vivid monologues that pour from the souls of master and slave, auctioneer and observer during this “Weeping Time.”

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brooke | 2/11/2014

    " Thinking of using it for 6-7th grade classes. There is lots of discussion material in it. Lester takes on the mutiple perspectives but, sadly, only teases the reader and doesn't take you deeply enough into each person's reality. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 2/8/2014

    " Mr. Lester is becoming my new favorite Young Adult author. This book, a very quick read, is a compelling story of the Weeping Time, the largest slave auction. The use of first person narratives and dialogue creates distinct characters that stick with you. Highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tonya | 2/5/2014

    " A beautifully written story that brings a heaviness to your soul. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shaundra | 1/30/2014

    " This book naturally portrays the trials and harsh life in the times of slavery. The emotions of all the characters are clear and I was surprised to get an inside look at how cruel slavery really was. This book can be used by teachers when teaching about slavery in American history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Thorson | 1/17/2014

    " Lester offers an important piece of historical fiction driven by the thoughts of a wide range of characters. The plot revolves around what was considered the greatest slave auction in American history. This slave auction took place in Savannah Georgia in 1859 and was fueled by the decision of plantation owner Butler to sell off most of his assets. Butler is considered a good slave owner by most of his slaves, though his former wife was the more sympathetic member of the couple. Butler's two daughters are also close to the house slaves who helped raise them. The older daughter, Sarah, is particularly close to her slave nanny Emma. Francie, meanwhile, is more aware of the economic importance of slaves and therefore the favorite of Master Butler. The slave auction brought fear for slaves who would be sold to less favorable households and consequently separated from friends and family. Despite the mass selling, Emma was one slave who was sure to stay at the Butler house. Sarah would be devastated to lose the woman who raised her, and Emma's parents were almost like siblings to Butler. Yet, even the best slave is still an economic asset to Butler who has a penchant for losing everything to gambling debts. He sells Emma, shocking Sarah as well as Emma's heartbroken parents. The reader learns that Butler's oldest daugther never forgives her father even as he passes away. Following the auction most of the story revolves around Emma and another sold Butler slave named Joe. The pair are sent to the same home working for a kind woman. Though their situation is relatively stable, the temptation of crossing the Ohio River and acheiving freedom is too strong. Emma, Joe, and a pair of other slaves rely on the assitance of a white man to reach freedom. Their trials, however, are not over as the fugitive slave act legalized the capture and return of any escaped slave regardless of their residing state. Moreover, Emma and Joe must try to survive in an unfamiliar society while experiencing freedom for the first time. Lester's novel is only partially based on historical events. Yet, it represents a moving account of slavery in the US. Lester allows his reader to understand both the pain of being a slave and the economic considerations of slave owners. This is a fast but emotional read. A story about a slave separated from his wife who tries to find her again after slavery is abolished is especially depressing. This is an important book. Useful for junior high and high school students. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 1/8/2014

    " Story told in different characters points of view starting with a slave auction in Georgia in 1859. Based on a true story, but with mostly fictional characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny Linsky | 1/8/2014

    " Very moving. Important addition to middle school library. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 528_Tracy | 12/19/2013

    " In 1859, the largest slave auction in American History took place in Savannah, Georgia. Day of Tears tells the story of this slave auction and its impact from the perspective of several participants. These participants include slaves, slave owners, and the auctioneer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 12/7/2013

    " Books like this are hard to comment it. I liked the book but it's, hard to find something do sad so entertaining. I loved how it went from when the characters were young and then see their feelings later on in life. That's my favorite part. But it wasn't my favorite but I liked it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carla | 11/30/2013

    " A part of history that I never knew about regarding this particular slave auction that was the largest to occur in history. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mandie | 10/23/2013

    " I really liked the idea of the different writing style, but using only dialogue didn't really work in the situation. I thought the characters never developed, and even though it was attempting to describe a horrible event, I didn't really feel the pain of it like I feel like I should have. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janelle | 9/14/2013

    " A book told through dialogue, this tells the story of the largest slave auction in history. It has a lot of great insight into the different perspectives from both blacks and whites that complicated every aspect of slavery. Very good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heidi Vanderbusch | 9/5/2013

    " I read this for a young adult lit class. It is a great young adult novel, and an extremely interesting one. It includes within the novel the prices at which the slaves were sold for during the auction...and puts you right into the thoughts of the people the auction affected the most. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen Dosdall | 8/16/2013

    " Heart-breaking story of the day of selling of 429 slaves from one Georgia plantation -- but there are nevertheless heroes and hope for the future. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amber King | 7/27/2013

    " This book was an easy but very moving read. It puts a unique perspective on the struggles faced during the time of American slavery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mr. Van Bockern | 4/10/2013

    " Civil war book about the last slave auction. "

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About the Author
Author Julius Lester

Julius Lester is the Newbery Honor–winning author of more than twenty books for young readers. He lives in western Massachusetts.

About the Narrators

Lizan Mitchell has won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration as well as nine Earphones Awards. She appears frequently on episodic television and more recently in the feature film The Human Stain.

Sisi Johnson is “a storyteller for a storyteller’s story.” From folksy to urban, her warm blend of bite and sweetness wrapped in an accessible narration style sets the right tone in such award winning books as Francie and Feathers, and notable books like Romiette & Julio, for which she received the AudioFile Earphones Award, and Dr. Mr. President: Letter from a Slave Girl, for which she was selected to be an Audie Award finalist. A long time resident of New York City, she now resides in Los Angeles and happily travels between the two amazing metropolises.

Tom Stechschulte has narrated well over a hundred audiobooks and has won fifteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. He won the prestigious Audie Award in 2009 and has been a finalist for the Audie in 2005 and 2011. As an actor, he has been seen in eleven Broadway shows as well as numerous television and film shows, including the remake of The Manchurian Candidate.

John McDonough, one of AudioFile magazine’s Golden Voices, has narrated dozens of audiobooks, and won eleven Earphones Awards. He is known for his narrations of children’s books, including Robert McCloskey’s Centerburg Tales and Albert Marrin’s Commander-in-Chief Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Outside of his audiobook work, he has starred in a revival of Captain Kangaroo on the Fox Network.

Julia Gibson received an MFA from New York University. She has appeared on Broadway and other major stages in New York, as well as regional theaters from Dallas to San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and more. Gibson has played major roles in productions such as The Seagull, Angels in America, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her television and film credits include Michael Clayton, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Spin City, and One Life to Live.