A distinctive urban publisher since 1941

Wayne State University Press

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Paperback
Published: July 2008
ISBN: 9780814334027
Pages: 146 Size: 5x7.5
Illustrations: 10 black and white images
eBOOK
Published: July 2008
ISBN: 9780814335437
Review

A lively and engaging story that is steeped in history but cleverly weaves in universal elements of family, father-son relationships, boyhood friendships, and life's challenges.

— Juanita Moore

Who’s Jim Hines? is a story based on real events about Douglas Ford Jr., a twelve-year-old African American boy growing up in Detroit in the 1930s. Doug’s father owns the Douglas Ford Wood Company, and Doug usually helps his dad around the scrap wood yard located in the side lot next to their house. But after Doug loses his school textbooks one day he is faced with the prospect of paying for new books and must join his father in the backbreaking work of delivering wood throughout the city and suburbs. Doug, who knows all of his father’s delivery drivers, takes this opportunity to unravel the mystery of a man named Jim Hines whom he always hears about but has never seen. In discovering Hines’s identity, Doug also learns much about the realities of racism in Depression-era Detroit.

As she tells Doug’s story, author Jean Alicia Elster incorporates rich descriptions of daily life, including glimpses into Detroit’s auto factories and unions, northern-style segregation, and color distinctions within the African American community. Elster also introduces readers to the Fords’ neighborhood, a racially mixed community of Eastern European immigrants and southern blacks.

Readers from the ages of eight through twelve will enjoy the entertaining and educational story in Who’s Jim Hines?

Jean Alicia Elster is a professional writer of books for children and young adults. Her books include I’ll Do the Right Thing, I’ll Fly My Own Plane, I Have a Dream, Too! and Just Call Me Joe Joe.

A lively and engaging story that is steeped in history but cleverly weaves in universal elements of family, father-son relationships, boyhood friendships, and life's challenges."

– Juanita Moore, president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit

It's a book about a black family in Detroit in the 1920s and '30s. But it's also the story of the triumph of hope over fear, of dreams over hard realities."

– Detroit Free Press

Based on a true story, Who's Jim Hines? is a story of old racism in the 1930s in the area of Detroit. Who's Jim Hines? is a great period piece aimed at young readers with an interest in history."

– Midwest Book Review

  • 2008 ForeWord Book of the Year - Finalist in the category of Juvenile Fiction
  • 2009 Michigan Notable Book Awards - Result: 1 of 20 selected annually
  • 2009 Great Lakes Great Books Award - Result: 2009/2010 Great Lakes Great Books Award ballot for Grades 4-5
  • 2009 Great Lakes Great Books Award - Result: 2009/2010 Great Lakes Great Books Award ballot for Grades 4-5