Freedom Summer

( 5 )

Overview

John Henry swims better than anyone I know.
He crawls like a catfish,
blows bubbles like a swamp monster,
but he doesn't swim in the town pool with me.
He's not allowed.

Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one important way they're ...

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Overview

John Henry swims better than anyone I know.
He crawls like a catfish,
blows bubbles like a swamp monster,
but he doesn't swim in the town pool with me.
He's not allowed.

Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one important way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there...only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people's hearts.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Set in Mississippi during the summer of 1964, this affecting debut book about two boys-one white, the other African-American-underscores the bittersweet aftermath of the passage of the Civil Rights Act," wrote PW. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews, starred review Teachers and parents could use this book as a quiet but powerful introduction to the prejudice experienced by many Americans.

Library Talk, starred review An excellent book...History will come alive for present-day students.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689830167
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 599,076
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Wiles was born in Alabama and grew up in an Air Force family, moving many times but digging deep roots into the Mississippi soil of her extended family. She still travels “down South” today from her longtime home in Frederick, Maryland, where she lives with her family and works as a freelance writer. She also teaches writing and oral history workshops—sharing with children how all history is really biography, and how every person’s story is important. Freedom Summer is her first book.

Jerome Lagarrigue was born and grew up in Paris, France, in a family of artists. Mr. Lagarrigue is the illustrator of Freedom Summer as well as My Man Blue by Nikki Grimes, and his work has also appeared in the New Yorker and on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he teaches drawing and painting at Parsons School of Design and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 3, 2008

    Mollie's Freedom Summer Review

    Deborah Wiles makes her childhood thoughts about equality and friendship a reality in her book, Freedom Summer. Two young boys, Joe, a Caucasian, and John Henry, an African American, enjoy the summer together. The only problem is: it's the 1960s and African Americans and Caucasians are not supposed to be friends, especially not in the southern portion of the United States. This summer things are going to be different, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has just been passed allowing African Americans to enjoy the same public places and liberties as everyone else. Unlike past summers when Joe and John Henry swam away from the public's eye in Fiddler's Creek, this summer they are going to enjoy the town pool together. To their great disappointment they find the town pool filled in with asphalt in protest to the new law. Unable to enjoy the pool together the boys go for ice cream instead. For the first time they go against the grain and enter the store together to buy their ice cream. Their friendship is what truly matters in this heart-wrenching story. The book takes a difficult subject and places it in the simplicity of friendship. For children, the right thing to do was so obvious. This reviewer recommends this book to parents and educators alike. It is an excellent introductory story to a difficult chapter of American history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2005

    Strength and Freedom

    Two boys are best friends. They like to fish, swim, get ice cream, and bother their parents. Sounds like an idyllic life in our countries Southland. But it's the summer of 1964, and a chain of events has led their small community to make a decision the boys will remember for the rest of their lives. Freedom Summer is the story of two young friends who learn a hard lesson about racism during what should be their time of innocence. At the end of the book, the author briefly discusses the causes of the Civil Rights Movement, and segregation. A simple but powerful text combined with richly colored paintings, guides the lesson into your heart. A good book to have in a collection including White Socks Only, Goin' Someplace Special and The Other Side.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2000

    A wonderful book

    This is sure to be one of the best picture books of 2001! An amazing story, based on true events, and beautifully told. This is an important book to share and discuss with children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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