Julius Lester, author of many books for young people celebrating African American traditions, takes us in his latest story, Day of Tears, to the largest slave auction in U.S. history in 1859 on a Georgia plantation. Told in dialogue and monologue, the story moves back and forth in time. In the present, Pierce Butler, plantation owner, sells Emma, the one who cared for his children, along with other slaves to pay off his gambling debts. Some time later, the characters look back on that painful time and comment on the horrors they experienced. Many characters fictionalized from history speak, including the auctioneer, several runaway slaves and an abolitionist.