Black Snow

Young Adult - Social Issues
72 Pages
Reviewed on 04/15/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Born in North Carolina and raised in NYC. Served 20 years in US Army as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and military judge. Love to travel and have visited/lived in numerous countries in Europe and Arab-Africa.
My other passions, besides writing and traveling, include learning foreign languages and working out. Also love making appetizers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Black Snow is a young adult novel by Larry Vick, set in the 1950s. Aaron lives with his mom and dad in the projects in East New York. He's in the second grade, and he's working hard to be the smartest kid in class. It's something he and his Uncle Teddy talk about a lot. Uncle Teddy's not a real uncle, of course, but he and his mother, Aaron's Aunt Moira, have even set up a college fund for him. Teddy and his father, Rufus, were childhood friends who served in the US Navy together. Rufus works on a fishing boat, but Uncle Teddy stayed on in the Navy. Aaron has a hard time with the other kids in his building. Although his parents are both African American, Aaron’s skin is almost white and his hair is red. His best friend, Buddy, ends up having to stand up for him all the time when the other kids pick on him for being different. Aaron feels pudgy, weak and helpless, and he knows his father wishes he were more like Buddy.

Larry Vick's historical coming of age novel, Black Snow, is set during the Christmas season. However, this holiday is changed forever by the chain of events Aaron believes he set in place when he unleashed a torrent of hateful epithets at his best friend during an altercation. Black Snow is written from Aaron's perspective. He's an introverted and intelligent boy who's different, and it defines his existence. I was instantly caught up in his story and found myself profoundly moved by the tale that unfolds. Vick's writing is spare and elegant, and his characters are sharply drawn, complex and very human, especially Aaron, who somehow in this holiday season marred by tragedy finds his inner core of strength. This is a most marvelous and moving story that Larry Vick has crafted, and I'm hoping to read more offerings by this very talented author. Black Snow is most highly recommended.

Michelle Randall

As a young child growing up in the projects, if your skin shade is slightly different, it can cause an issue. In Black Snow, we meet Aaron and Sanobia, two young children who have had to learn far more than their age would dictate to survive. When Aaron can no longer take the consistent teasing, tormenting and bullying, he fights back on Sunday with a stream of curses that would make even a veteran sailor blush. A chain reaction of events, in no way related to each other, occur within a brief five minute window of time that will change Aaron's world forever. Author Larry Vick shows how Aaron's childlike mind can connect the events when there is no connection, and how an unsuspecting friend can lead you to your greatest moment.

Black Snow, although marked as a young adult book, is easily readable for upper elementary aged children to adults. It should be read by children and adults alike, and then talked about together. It is one of those books that brings social issues to light, but in a mild enough way for all ages to be able to cope with reading about them, and to allow families to discuss the issues together. Author Larry Vick has created a wonderful book that could easily be a school reading assignment book. It would work perfectly in the type of setting where it is read and discussed and talked about more deeply. Not only do I recommend the book to readers, but to teachers and educators alike.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

In Black Snow by Larry Vick, Aaron doesn't understand why his father doesn't like him. He's afraid that the new baby his mother is carrying will drive a bigger wedge between himself and his father. Aaron tries his best to be the top student at school and to garner the attention and rewards that go along with being smart. There's one more goal he must achieve to be a stellar student; he must Present and Describe, an aural presentation to his class about something or someone that has made an impact on his life. When his beloved Uncle Teddy dies, Aaron is convinced that the accident that killed his uncle was his fault because he swore on a Sunday. He's convinced that he is an outcast in his apartment complex because he is a white child of black parents and almost everyone else in the apartment complex is black, even his best friend, Buddy.

Aaron tries to achieve his ribbon for the best Present and Describe in the class by telling a story about himself and how he is responsible for his uncle's death. His shocking revelation leads to a chain of events that stretches through Christmas and the search for another classmate's father who wandered off (probably suffering from dementia) in the cold blizzard. Aaron knows where the classmate's father has gone and he recruits his best friend, Buddy, to go out in the bitter cold to a deserted farm to try to save a man who is already almost dead. Finally, Aaron is the hero that his father wants him to be, but perhaps it is more than being a hero that brings father and son together in the way that they should be.

Larry Vick has written a compelling coming-of-age story about a young boy who struggles for acceptance at home, at school and at play. It is not an easy task for a white boy with black parents in a black neighborhood, but it is his lot in life to try, and hopefully achieve the goal of acceptance. This is a powerful story about diversities and racial issues.

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

Aaron is a young boy who is plagued by insecurity. Being only seven years old and looking different than the other kids in his school isn’t easy. But it’s something he’s trying to come to terms with, even if his father doesn’t seem to understand him and the other kids at school never pick him for their teams. After a terrible and nearly disastrous day, Aaron finds himself on an entirely different track through life. He finds himself facing things he never would have expected and surviving only with the help of the best friends he could hope for, Buddy and Sanobia. All this and more are found in Black Snow by Larry Vick, a story of hope and change.

This book is definitely a great one because of everything it contains. It focuses on a young child as he grows up and becomes a better person, a more trusting and imaginative person. Aaron grows throughout the course of this book, but then so do other characters like Rufus and even Eve. These characters all have flaws that you can look at and understand in many ways because they’re similar to flaws that all of us have. But at the same time, these characters are very interesting and they continue to change throughout the course of this story. Black Snow by Larry Vick is a story of being courageous, even in the face of something terrible, and it’s definitely about growing as a person and becoming the best you can be.

Pat Hosmer

I have requested your book be purchased by our local public library, CCPL&IC. Congratulations! I remember when you were writing it! -Hosmer