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The Gold Cadillac Cover art by Max Ginsburg

Mildred D. Taylor’s poignant story of a closely knit Black family’s encounter with ignorance and prejudice gives young readers an unforgettable look at the pride and pain of growing up Black in America. Michael Hays’s dramatic sepia paintings perfectly evoke the 1950s as they capture the events of this emotional story.

Mildred Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up in Toledo Ohio. After two years with the Peace Corps, Ms. Taylor entered the School of Journalism at the University of Colorado where she worked with students and University officials in structuring a Black Studies program at the university.

Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry won the Newbery Award in 1976 and its sequel, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, was an American Library Association Best Book of the Year and a finalist for the American Book Award. It and Ms. Taylor’s first book, Song of the Trees, were named by the New York Times as among the Outstanding Books of the Year, and Song of the Trees won the Council on Interracial Books Award in the African-American Category. Ms. Taylor now lives in Colorado.

Penguin Books Logo

The Gold Cadillac

by Mildred Taylor
illustrated by Michael Hays

Dial Puffin Penguin 1987

‘lois thought her family’s trip from Ohio to Mississippi in their brand-new, all gold 1950 Cadillac would be like a grand picnic. Her mother was still angry at her father for buying the car instead of saving for a new house, and her uncles warned it would be dangerous for them to drive the car into the South. But ‘lois and her sister Wilma didn’t understand any of that. After all it was the most beautiful car they had ever seen, and they loved the way everybody in Toledo “owwed and ahhed” over it.

But the South didn’t welcome the family in the gold Cadillac with admiring glances. Restaurants, motels, even drinking fountains–all had signs that said COLORED NOT ALLOWED. White policemen, suspicious of a Black family driving such a beautiful car, arrested ‘lois’s father. By the time they’re safely back in Toledo, ‘lois and Wilma have found out for the first time in their lives what it’s like to feel scared because of the color of their skin.

The Gold Cadillac art by Michael Hays ©2010