Review: Who’s Jim Hines? A Historical Fiction Book That Turns Into A Mystery

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I read this book called Who’s Jim Hines? by Jean Alicia Elster.

It’s about a young African-American boy named Doug who is living in Detroit in the 1930s, just like Patsy from The Colored Car. Jean Alicia Elster also wrote that book.

Doug is fascinated by his dad’s job as a log cutter, but one day he hopes to become a doctor. Since he thinks his dad’s job is so cool, he wants to know everything about his dad’s work. So, when his parents start talking about a mysterious man named Jim Hines, Doug really wants to know who the co-worker is.

Just like Doug, I was wondering who Jim Hines was. Who he turned out to be was a big surprise for me and I bet it will be for you, too. This book is historical fiction. It is my favorite genre. But it is also a mystery and it felt like an adventure. I liked the mix of those two.

The book was a little bit confusing in some parts, like when they were talking about a “high-yellow woman” and when Jim Hines was finally revealed, so my Mom had to explain a bit.

When we were talking, I was surprised to learn that some of the stuff that happened back then with racism and discrimination still happens now. I thought segregation and discrimination totally ended in 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. But then I remembered reading about the Civil Rights Act in one of my American Girl books. Melody said something like, “Just because the president signed a little piece of paper, doesn’t mean the world will listen.”

When I read about discrimination it makes me feel sad and mad. I don’t understand why people think they are better than someone else just because of their skin or why they would treat them different.

I thought Who’s Jim Hines? was a interesting story and I learned that because of discrimination, some people had to do different and difficult things to make money and survive.

I recommend the book to kids who understand racism and discrimination. I would also recommend it to people who want to read a book that is historical, fictional, mysterious and adventurous.

I give it three out of four roses.








  1. Elena, what do you enjoy most about historical fiction?

    Why do you think it’s important for kids to talk to their parents or other family members/ trusted adults about what they read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So that the adults can know what they’re reading and make sure it’s the right level for their kid, and it is appropriate. I talk to my mom about the books I read so she can make sure I am reading something that’s my level and that is appropriate. Adults can also help you understand something that you don’t understand, like my mom did while I was reading Who’s Jim Hines?


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