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Children's LiteratureThis short, oversized book tells the story of the Freedom Rides into the Deep South in the early 1960s based on the experiences of a young white man and a young black man. Jim Zwerg grew up in white, middle-class, midwest America. John Lewis grew up in the poor, segregated rural South. The two men met in 1961 in Nashville, Tennessee where college students were protesting local segregation. Lewis and Zwerg joined in the freedom bus rides to challenge segregation. White mobs viciously beat both men, Zwerg especially so. But the violence that was intended to discourage the freedom riders led to eventual success. The writing, often awkward, needs a bit of polish, but black-and-white photographs and supplementary information on the Civil Rights movement enhance the story. 2006, National Geographic Society, Ages 8 to 12.
—Michael L. Cooper