The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural

dark thirty southern tales mckissack s

1993 Newbery Honor Book and 1992 Coretta Scott King Award Winner

This Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award Winner from beloved author Patricia McKissack offers a “stellar collection” of “ten original stories, all with a foundation in African-American history or culture” (School Library Journal).

In that special half-hour of twilight—the dark-thirty—there are stories to be told. Mesmerizing and breathtakingly original, these tales are inspired by African American history and range from the time of slavery to the civil rights era. With her extraordinary gift for suspense, Patricia C. McKissack has created a heart-stopping collection of lasting value, a book not quickly forgotten.---from the publisher

176 pages                                978-0679890065                        Ages 10-13

Keywords:  short stories, supernatural, paranormal, horror, African American author, Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Author Medal, African American culture, African American history, Social Studies Curriculum, ghosts, lynching, revenge, Underground Railroad, civil rights, diversity, diverse books, eerie, creepy, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old

An ALA Notable Children’s Book An NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies An IRA Teachers’ Choice


A collection of short stories with roots in African American folktales and the struggle out of slavery and toward civil rights, these stories are creepy, eerie, and dark. Set in the American south, the stories are based on real happenings to include lynchings, slavery, and revenge. Here's a list of the stories summarized by a reader named Renee on Goodreads:

The Legend of Pin Oak A sad slave story about selling family and the pursuit of freedom. The ending was just beautiful.

We Organized A poem based on an actual slave narrative. Humorous and powerful.

Justice A horror story about the Ku Klux Klan and the supernatural justice. Absolutely horrifying and incredibly sad.

The 11:59 My favourite story from the whole novel. It's about African American Porters and their close knit community during the golden age of train travel and the 11:59 train.

The Sight An interesting supernatural story about a boy being born with the gift of sight.

The Woman in the Snow A story about the first black bus driver in Montgomery and his ghostly visit from the woman in the snow.

The Conjure Brother More of a didactic story about siblings and messing with the supernatural.

Boo Mama The wackiest story out of the bunch about a mother and son and what happens when her son goes missing in the forest.

The Gingi A story based on the Yoruba people of Nigeria who believe that bad spirits can't enter a house unless they're welcomed and what happens when they are.

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