The Blue and the Gray by Eve Bunting; Illustrated by Ned Bittinger (Scholastic Press, 1996)
A family is building a house right next door to the boys best friend's family. What makes the location of the house so unique is that it is being built on a Civil War battleground. What makes this even more unique is the fact the the boys are Black and White.
The main premise of the story is that the little white boys father gives the boys a history lesson as to the significance of the land they all chose to build on. The father wants them to remember and respect those who gave their life and the cause that they gave it for.
What is not clear is whether the houses were being built in the North or the South. This to me is a key missing element to the story. I am guessing by the material I could find on the author was that she was meaning for the story to be set in the South. This was pretty much my guess but since it was not clearly stated, it caused some confusion when I was reading it.
"The Blue and the Gray" provides an excellent contrast between what the South was like during the Civil War and the strides this country has made for racial equality since then. This book brings to light the beauty of friendship and the memories of the past.
Intended audience: Kindergarten through 3rd