Hmmm...interesting discussion I have gone ahead with the book, although to offer evidence of how I am preparing my students, we actually haven't started reading the novel itself yet! I teach English and Lit as a block, so the themes of RoTHMC are also our themes for our research papers - all are connected with the African American "experience." We have been studying Brown vs. the Board of Education and the Civil Rights movement (which I realize is after RoTHMC takes place) and have discussed how certain words that were used by civil rights leaders in the 50s or 60s (negro or colored) are not p.c. or acceptable now. I think this is gearing the kids up to hearing these used in a more negative way in the book. We are studying Mississippi history tomorrow and I have actually learned a lot ... didn't realize that freed slaves and their descendants were actually treated better in the years after the Civil War than in the 20th century. I think another important theme for studying this historical time period which many of my kids will relate to is the fact that this was a difficult time for black people and poor white people, and this is a theme used directly in the book. I'm sure I'll make some mistakes, but so far my kids seem mature enough to handle most of what I've thrown at them, and I of course will continue to prepare them for parts of the book that may be difficult. They read about the Holocaust last year, so they have handed difficult topics before. I understand the p.c. world we live in, but the book is on my school's list of books we MUST choose from, and it was really my only choice if I wanted to tie it in with research. Since the list was approved by my admin, I know they will be supportive of any problems. If I run into trouble, so be it.