Freedom Summer

Freedom Summer


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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.
This stirring account of the "Freedom Summer" that followed the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 powerfully and poignantly captures two boys' experience with racism and their friendship that defies it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689878299
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 01/06/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 77,031
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.20(d)
Lexile: AD460L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About 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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Freedom Summer 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
jcardwell04 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two boys, John Henry and Joe, are best friends and want to do everythng together. There is one problem, John Henry is black and because of the color of his skin he cannot participate in many things, such as, swimming in the public pool.
AllisonHood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was not my favorite story. This story uses strong verbs and powerful words. It was over the readers heads. I don¿t think that it held their interest. It add a realistic touch to this charming story.
brendajoyce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is truly about friendship in a very difficult time. There were a lot alike. How were they different What problems did their differences cause? How did they solve their problem(s)?
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the summer of 1964, civil rights workers in Mississippi organized ¿Freedom Summer,¿ a movement to register black Americans to vote. It was a time of great racial violence and change. This story is told from the perspectives of kids. John Henry is a young African American boy who is best friends with Joe, who is white. There are many areas of town however that John Henry is restricted from going. Instead of using his white privilege and meeting up with John Henry later, as he used to, Joe decides he will only see the town the way John Henry is allowed to see it.This is a great story with nice illustrations that has won multiple awards. I see it as an excellent book to teach white kids about our past and about making ethical choices.
ampitcher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
fantastic story with awesome illustration, its a great book to read to kids and talk about social issues and how they would like to be treated
MarieliGoodner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is about two little boys who seem to have many things in common. They both want to be firemen, they like to swim in the creek, and they love ice pops. The only difference is that Joe is white and John Henry is black and this story takes place in the south during the 1960s. Although the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, many Americans still opposed it. When I read this book to my children for the first time, they found it hard to believe that our society once functioned that way for so many years. This story also helps us to talk about the other ways that people discriminate against eachother. I especially liked that Joe never left his friend's side. That really showed what true friendship is all about. One classroom extension would be to simply have a class discussion about discrimination. Another idea would be to have students write about what they would do to make things better for Joe and John Henry.
mulstad07 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good book for primary, intermediate, and middle school children.This book is historical fiction because these two boys most likely did not really live, but there are probably some that did live exactly like them. The struggles of African Americans that are talked about in this book really did happen.John Henry Waddell and the narrator are the two main characters in the book. At the beginning, both don't really understand the reasons behind why they are not allowed to do the same things, but they participate anyways. Once John Henry gets a taste of what it would be like to not be discriminated against, however, he becomes angry. Through this experience, both boys grow and stick up for what is right more. The theme of this book is to stand up for what you believe in. At the end, John Henry did just that and it seemed to be a defining moment in his life.
enagreen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a personal book about the Civil Rights Movement. It would be a good book to read together as a class and then talk about the destructive nature of discrimination. It could be used in conjunction with Social Studies when learning about the Civil Rights Movement or as a lesson on friendship and equal treatment.
HopeMiller123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book about two young boys that are friends, one black and one white, during a time of racism and segregation. They loved spending time together and didn't like that fact that they cannot go to the same places with each other. One day they hear that the public pool is now open to black and white people. The boys couldn't wait to go and the next day when they arrived, the pool was being filled with tar. Although the new rules said things would be equal, some people disagreed and closed down the pool. This made the boys sad, especially the black child. But at the end they realized that they didn't care what other people thought and for the first time ever went to what used to be an all white store and weren't afraid. This story is about friendship that shines through even the darkest times.
conuly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very evocative book about racism and hatred. Here's this boy, excited to play in the pool for the first time - and he can't. The city was so upset about integration that they filled the pool with concrete rather than let black people swim there. Terrible.This book is realistic, and we can always use more books about history. It's well-written, I like the artwork.But...See, now, I have to ask this. Here's this book about integration, about hatred, about racism. It features a white boy and his black best friend. Best friend's big brother makes an appearance, too. The best friend is the one who feels heartbroken, he's the one who's suffering here...So why is the white kid the narrator?Is this story of friendship, and of hatred, really his story to tell? Why couldn't John Henry have told his own story?
Waiter22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
13.Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles is a book written about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law banned segregation in public places, and the story takes place in a southern town during that summer when the law was passed. Freedom Summer is written from the unique perspective of two friends, John Henry is black and Joe is white. This law affects both of the boys differently and the story conveys both perspectives. The illustrations really provide insight into character¿s feelings and motivation. This is a very thought provoking and moving story of two friends growing up in during the Civil Rights era.
CrystalRushton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A historical fiction text, based on true events, about two young boys, one white and one black, during the Civil Rights movement in 1964. Tells the story of a courageous friendship that persists despite strong racism existent in the South.In the book, best friends Joe and John Henry are more than excited to finally swim together in the town pool the day the Anti-Segregation Laws are passed. However, sadly the boys arrive at the pool, find that it has been filled in with tar, and discover that despite the Anti-Segregation Laws racism still strongly exists and it will take more than that to change peoples' minds. Excellent text for doing an elementary social studies read aloud, especially during Civil Rights units, etc.
justine.marxer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
age app: primary - secondarygenre: historical fictionreview: This is a great example of historical fiction. The author paints a picture of what life was like after the Civil Rights Acts. He created the story out of his own experiences.
rturba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Genre: Historical FictionMedia: Acrylic paintAge Appropriateness: primaryPlot: people against societyCharacterization: John Henry Waddell is a flat dynamic character. We don't know much about him, because his best friend is the narrator and so we only know about him from that perspective. He also does not change much throughout the book. He constantly has the desire to be like his friend.Review: This book is a great example of historical fiction. It retells the events of the end of segregation through the voices of children. It is believable and personal because you see it as though you are a kid during that time.
SarahWilmot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent example of historical fiction because it joins history with the author's fictitious characters. It is set in the time period when African Americans were technically beginning to receive more freedoms in the US, but the actual change was slow to occur; the pain caused by prejudice is expressed through the fictitious characters' lives.Illustrations: pastel
cassie.lee.irwin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Genre: Historical FictionReview: The author does a great job of telling her story through this historical fiction. In the book the boys are not real characters nor are the exact events but what the boys are experiencing is the discrimination of blacks that happened during the 1960's. This books shows how difficult it was for blacks and whites to be friends and how these boys had to work through their situation and figure out how to be friends in the cruel world that we live in. Media: PastelsCharacterization: John Henry is the African American boy in this book, he is a very dynamic character. The book begins with the portrayal that he is a shy boy who follows his mother to work. As the book goes on we begin to see that he enjoys many things especially being with his friend Joe. We finally see him stick up for what he believes is right by going into the store with Joe. I really enjoyed how the author wrote John Henry because we can see how the steps that he took to finally get him to the point that he was at.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MollieMI More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.