Nine-year-old Melody Ellison is growing up in Detroit in the mid-1960s, a time of great energy, optimism, challenges, and change for the Black community. Her stories are set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement and the music scene, including the success of the most popular Black-owned business: Motown Records. Melody loves to sing and is happiest blending her voice with others, whether it’s in the children’s choir at church, backing up the music her brother writes, or singing into a hairbrush with her sisters.
Although Melody’s stories are set in the North, she and her family still experience injustices because they are Black. She and her brother are accused of shoplifting at a neighborhood department store, and her sister isn’t allowed to apply for a summer job at a bank because she’s Black. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to Detroit, Melody and her family go listen to him speak. Melody finds inspiration in Dr. King’s words and discovers a dream of her own: to add her voice to those speaking up for fairness and equality.
Author Denise Lewis Patrick notes, “Much of what was being fought then is still being fought. I hope these stories give parents a springboard to talk about what’s going on today, and why we are still in the place that we are today.”