Return of Gabriel

( 1 )

Overview


When the summer of 1964 begins, Cooper (who is white) and Jubal (who is black), form a secret society, The Scorpions, and debate whether to invite another boy, Squirrel, to join. When freedom workers come to town to register blacks to vote, the quiet pace of the summer changes dramatically. Cooper must decide how to react when his father makes him attend KKK meetings. Cooper is the only white member of the Oak Grove Baptist Church. His attendance at the KKK klaverns makes him unwelcome in the black community, as...
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Overview


When the summer of 1964 begins, Cooper (who is white) and Jubal (who is black), form a secret society, The Scorpions, and debate whether to invite another boy, Squirrel, to join. When freedom workers come to town to register blacks to vote, the quiet pace of the summer changes dramatically. Cooper must decide how to react when his father makes him attend KKK meetings. Cooper is the only white member of the Oak Grove Baptist Church. His attendance at the KKK klaverns makes him unwelcome in the black community, as does word that he was spotted with a group of Klansmen who burned down houses in the black part of town. Cooper’s uncle Chicago helps guide him through these turbulent times.
As the summer progresses, the pastor at Oak Grove Baptist Church somehow manages to learn in advance of Klan plans. He says the news comes from the Angel Gabriel. When the warnings suddenly cease, Cooper learns the secret of Gabriel’s identity and must decide what role he will play, and on which side.

In the summer of 1964, a thirteen-year-old white boy whose best friend is black is caught in the middle when civil rights workers and Ku Klux Klan members clash in a small town near Tupelo, Mississippi.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Armistead follows his strong first novel, The $66 Summer, about prejudice in the 1950s South, with an equally dramatic story set in 1964. The easy-going friendship between Cooper, a white 13-year-old, and his African-American neighbor, Jubal, is suddenly threatened when liberal-minded college students arrive from California, determined to bring change to Cooper's segregated Mississippi town. His loyalties split between his own family and Jubal's, Cooper finds himself in a precarious position, unable to please anyone. His membership in a "colored" church riles the anger of the white community. By following his father to KKK meetings, he arouses suspicions and resentment among African-Americans he has known all his life. Cooper puts himself in danger in order to save friends who have abandoned him, and his actions pay off when he prevents a church from being bombed. Political messages at times overpower character development, but readers will remain riveted as the action rises to a fever pitch. The star role Cooper plays in disbanding his town's newly formed white supremacy clan is inspiring, however, students familiar with American history may find the resolution to be more idealistic than realistic. Ages 8-13. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-The summer of 1964 begins simply enough for Cooper, Jubal, and Squirrel, the founding members of a secret club called the Scorpions. Their biggest concern is to finish building their fort and impress the local bully, Reno McCarthy. Life becomes much more complicated for these three friends who come from different racial and religious backgrounds, when civil rights workers come to their small Mississippi town and encourage the blacks there to vote. The Ku Klux Klan responds with intimidation and terrorism. A cross is burned in front of Squirrel's house, and his family flees. Cooper's father insists that his son attend Klan meetings with him. The mounting racial tensions drive a wedge between the young people, but they struggle to look past them and remain loyal to one another. The Return of Gabriel is a suspenseful, compelling story of boys having to grapple with decisions that are well beyond their years. Their determination to keep their friendship intact despite all the pressures to end it will resonate with readers. An inspiring story set during the contentious Freedom Summer.-Edward Sullivan, White Pine School, TN Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571316387
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions
  • Publication date: 10/2/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 545,312
  • Age range: 8 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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