The Washington Post
Harlem Summerby Walter Dean Myers
It's 1925 and Mark Purvis is a 16-yr-old with a summer to kill. He'd rather jam with his jazz band (they need the practice), but is urged by his parents to get a job. As an assistant at The Crisis, a magazine for the "new Negro," Mark rubs shoulders with Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. He's invited to a party at Alfred Knopf's place. He's making money, but not… See more details below
It's 1925 and Mark Purvis is a 16-yr-old with a summer to kill. He'd rather jam with his jazz band (they need the practice), but is urged by his parents to get a job. As an assistant at The Crisis, a magazine for the "new Negro," Mark rubs shoulders with Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. He's invited to a party at Alfred Knopf's place. He's making money, but not enough, and when piano player Fats Waller entices him and his buddies to make some fast cash, Mark finds himself crossing the gangster Dutch Schultz.
The Washington Post
Myers's (Monster) historical novel pays tribute to the many well-known African-Americans on the rise during Harlem's Renaissance, through the eyes of 16-year-old Mark Purvis. It's the summer of 1925, and Mark's family has just received a financial setback, making it impossible to send Mark's older brother to college. Mark wants to help out, but well-paying jobs are hard to find. He thinks his job at The Crisis, a magazine that promotes Dr. W.E.B. DuBois's concept of "the New Negro" is fine, but not very exciting, and while he befriends the poet Langston Hughes, he longs to play jazz with the great Fats Waller. When Fats offers Mark a way to make some fast cash, he feels funny about it ("You didn't make no five dollars in one night unless you were doing something a little on the shady side") but agrees, hoping he can parlay it into a chance to jam with Fats. But the job goes awry and Mark winds up the fall guy. He has to set things right (a shipment of bootleg is stolen) or deal with the mob. Myers's humorous coming-of-age story reflects the paradoxically playful yet dangerous atmosphere of the 1920s. At the same time, readers learn about the many contributions African-Americans have made to this nation, underscored by the brief bios and photos in the concluding pages. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Sixteen-year-old musician Mark Purvis longs to break into the jazz scene of 1925 Harlem, but when he becomes embroiled in a bootlegging scheme with real-life jazzman Fats Waller, he has to find a way to pay off an angry mob boss for losing the liquor. Mark has a job at The Crisis , a magazine headed up by W. E. B. DuBois and published by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. As expected, his lovably carefree and occasionally clueless personality gets him into an insurmountable pile of trouble, yet it energizes both the plot and era with a contemporary vitality that today's hip-hop and pop-culture fans will appreciate. In this quickly paced and laugh-out-loud narrative, Myers brings Mark face-to-face with a dazzling host of Harlem Renaissance A-listers, including Marian Anderson, Langston Hughes, and Countee Cullen. Their swift, red-carpetlike entrances and exits ignite the hot New York City summer setting with the electricity of creativity and reform. As the story progresses, Mark's awareness of his surroundings and contributions to the cause grow stronger and stronger, and no doubt that's exactly what Myers hopes his readers will realize for themselves as Mark's story unfolds.
Hillias J. MartinCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
- Scholastic, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 17 Years
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