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Harlem Summer

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  193 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Myers is at his clever best in this witty and action-packed, coming-of-age story of a teenager's summer during the Harlem Renaissance and his run-ins with famous gangsters, writers, and musicians.

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 assist
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press
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Monster by Walter Dean MyersFallen Angels by Walter Dean MyersScorpions by Walter Dean MyersStreet Love by Walter Dean MyersSunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
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40th out of 76 books — 26 voters
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93rd out of 152 books — 49 voters

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Sherrell Jefferson
This is book left me with so many questions. Society conveys people's assumption and interpretation of the world when growing up. Mark is put into a situation were he's forced to get a job to help out his family raise money for his brother for college. To raise some extra money he takes on a job with a local musician Fats and gets himself into some trouble when his friend Crab Cakes runs off with the bootlegged wine, he returned it at the end of the book of course. After going through all that t ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Christian C. for

It's the summer of 1925 in Harlem, a summer that sixteen-year-old Mark Purvis will never forget. In just a months time, Mark will get to meet the best and the worst people of New York City.

Mark gets a job at The Crisis, a magazine that promotes and encourages "New Negroes." The magazine was part of a movement created during that time with a mission to discover talented persons of color -- poets, novelists, and musicians -- and show them to the world.
Yousra Bushehri
I really loved the writing of this book: easy, straight forward, fun. The story was entertaining and I loved that it featured real people (I enjoyed reading the section in the back of the book). I enjoyed the characters and the setting of the book.

Overall a really good book.
April Helms
Apr 20, 2008 April Helms rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young adults (11+) and adults
Mark picks up a summer job at "Crisis," an African American publication. But he also wants to get closer to famed musician Fats Waller, and quickly agrees to assist Fats in a sidejob. Unfortunately, things go wrong in this job, and soon Mark and his friends find themselves in hot water with the local gangsters. Combines an engaging and often humerous tale with actual historical figures such as the aforementioned Fats Waller, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois and Dutch Schultz. The appendix, with a ...more
Antoinette Evans
Harlem Summer is a coming of age story about a young man named Mark growing up in the 1920s. His dreams include becoming a saxophone player, making it big and making it through the Harlem Renaissance. Myers does an excellent job of putting his readers in the characters shoes and helping them understand Harlem in the 1920s. This story is great for teaching historical fiction paired up with the struggles that everyday teenagers face.
This would make a great book in the classrooms of young adults w
Doctor Sax
This was a tremendous effort by Walter Dean Myers. I really enjoyed how he weaved real life Icons such as W.E.B. Dubois, Booker T. Washington, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen etc. into this portrait of youth that shows us how even the best intentioned can get caught up in truly adult situations. Superb rhythm to this story!
This was an OK book about life in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance (1920s). It wove actual people through the novel and gives an explanation about who they are at the end. Good for middle school discussion or for black history month.
I've always wanted to read Walter Dean Myers and finally got the opportunity. It is as I thought. His books must all teach good lessons. This one did. It was about a young man in 1925s Harlem who unknowingly got mixed up in illegal activities. He was faced with a decision as to whether to continue making money this way or not make much money and be legal. I loved the way Dean wrote this. He included a lot of real life celebrities from that time. He included a lot of the arts from that time perio ...more
Oct 23, 2010 Ari added it
I didn't really have any expectations of the story, I just wanted to get a better idea of what Harlem was like during the 1920s and on that front this book did not disappoint. I could feel the heat rising off the sidewalk and imagine all the nightclubs and aspiring musicians lining up to perform in the clubs. One of the most fascinating things about this book (for me anyway) was the characterization of DuBois. Many of you may know that there was a huge rift between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Wa ...more
Appropriate Age: 7th grade and above

This poem takes the reader through a soulful journey about life in Harlem. The connective theme is song and voice, and how these people have taken their song from Africa, and changed/added to it through slavery and finally in their life in Harlem.

Walter Dean Myers grew up in Harlem, which gives him credibility to write in this genre. The cultural details are neatly integrated into the text and pictures through the readers exploration of Harlem. Although the ov
Jenni Moore
Harlem Summer is book narrated by the main character about his life; the struggles and thrill he undergoes make up the plot within. I find this book mainly written as a light source of intertainment. At about 170 pages, many people would consider it a "light read". I found myself contantly inspired by the will that drove our main character. He catches a job at a magazine ( The Crisis ) to help earn a few extra bucks to help his family out, not really seeing himself there in the future. The new j ...more
Summer Cull
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This book has kind of a strange tone to it. The content is actually very, very dark and scary, but the book itself is not all that scary. It moves quickly along quickly, and even though there is danger and trouble all over the place, it is actually pretty funny. The boys walk away from being threatened by gangsters with guns and Mark tells Henry he is the "cryingest guitar player I've ever seen." And even though they get mixed up with bootleggers and could easily have been killed, it all comes o ...more
Christian Daulat
I think this book was great. I like the storyline to this book, but it felt unfinished. The ending just came so quick. Anyway, The book is about a boy, who wants to be a famous jazz player. To get some cash, he makes this big mistake that ends up in him clutching his life. This was back in the day, when everything was cheaper. 1$ now is $13.57 then. In the end, this book is great, and I will recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a simple but great book.
English Education
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Sep 07, 2010 Elmedina marked it as 11th-grade-advisory
Harlem Summer by Walter Dean Myers, is about this boy named Mark. He is a 16 year old boy that likes to play the saxophone and write. He works at this place called the crisis. It's a newspaper company where he can do his favorite thing, write. The reason why he is working there is because he is trying to make money for his broher and his college. This book is perfect to feel the rythm of the Halem Rennasaince.

My favorite part was when he got the job at the newspaper place because he can help hi
Mar 13, 2008 Ozimandias rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Suckers for cute stories
This book is a rather lazy way of telling a story about the Harlem Renaissance. All he did was to take a stock character, a kid aspiring to play jazz, and put him into situations involving non-fictional characters. Just because you drop names of people doesn't mean that anyone would get something meaningful out of it. The book is supposed to be about an "Old Negro" coming in contact with the world of the "New Negro" while working at The Crisis Magazine for W.E.B. DuBois. By the end of the novel, ...more
Mark has to make money so his older brother can got to college, but it‘s the summer of 1925 in Harlem and there‘s lots for Mark to do. He gets a job with "The Crisis" magazine put out by the NAACP, for “New Negroes,” he is told. He helps Fats Waller, who is helping Dutch Schultz unload some illegal liquor, which leads to all sorts of problems.
By the time fall comes, Mark‘s brother has gone off to college, Mark is back in high school, hoping to play music with Fats Waller and sworn off a life in
Chii Muni
This book will introduce students to Harlem in the eyes of teenager during 1925. As the main character, Mark Purvis, becomes involved in a bootlegging scheme jazz musician Fats Waller and has encounters with W. E. B. DuBois, Marian Anderson, and Langston Hughes to name a few. During Marks adventure, he becomes aware of his surrounds. This is an intriguing read that students will be able to appreciate. Students will be able to describe how the Harlem Renaissance affected the United States during ...more
I really liked this YA book because of its cast of characters. I have read many Walter Dean Myers books, and enjoyed 145th Street the most.
Harlem Summer is a great book to use when teaching about the Harlem Renaissance because EVERYONE who was anyone is in this novel, including Langston Hughes, Fats Waller, W.E.B. DuBois, and even Dutch Schultz have a role.
Mark, the main character, takes a job at The Crisis, and learns what it means to be a "New Negro", but he's not sure he wants any part of i
Harlem summer is about a teenage boy who aspires to be a jazz musician during the New Negro movement that we later came to call the Harlem Renaissance. The main character tangles with gangsters during prohibition and finds himself in a tough spot. What I liked about the book was that I was pulled into the story right away. I liked the characters. I loved the way WDM incorporated the personalities of the time period into the story.

This is 3 WDM stars (equivilent to other mere mortals' 4 stars) b
3 stars may be generous.

Harlem Summer is a YA historical fiction novel set in 1925. It follows Mark, a 16 year old, as he works at The Crisis, the NAACP's magazine, and as he tries to earn money, which he does so by helping others bootleg liquor. He meets a lot of real people, including famous writers & poets (W.E.B. Dubois & Langston Hughes) as well as famous gangsters, kind of the best & worst of those living during the Harlem Renaissance. The story itself is not very engaging, and
Jul 26, 2012 Jill marked it as to-read
Citation: Myers, W. D. (2007). Harlem summer. New York: Scholastic Press.

Reviews and Awards: Book Links 01/01/07, Multicultural Review 03/01/08, Booklist 02/01/07, Parents' Choice Silver Honor 2007, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 04/01/07, Publishers Weekly 03/26/07, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 05/01/08, Publishers Weekly starred 04/21/08, Horn Book 05/01/07, School Library Journal 03/01/07, Horn Book starred 10/01/07, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) 04/01/07, Kirkus
Debbie Tanner
I loved tis book about a boy growing up in Harlem in 1925. Mark wants to be a musician and is hoping to follow his friend, Fats Waller, will help him out. His mother has other plans and he ends up working at a magazine for "the New Negro"which is run by WEB DuBois and employs people like Langston Hughes. I loved the mix of fiction and true people.
Harlem summer is a good book. In the summer of 1925 mark has to go find a summer job to send and keep his brother in college,mark will meet some good and bad people in attempt to make money. Mark will go though a lot at a very young age and will get very stressed out. Like most of the kids in Harlem of 1925 mark will have to muture fast.
ruth assefa
this book was really good. we had to read it in my English class.It first i was like what the hell. but then I sarted to like the book. I was really good.I ended up liking it. you know what they say dont judge a book by its cover. well they where right. so go and read it. It is worth it.
I enjoyed the cast of historical characters who participated in the story. Langston Hughes was very likable; WEB Dubois, less so. Some characters were real and I didn't know - that was also enjoyable. As a story, it was a bit light, but it was enjoyable.
Samantha Lazar
This book shows what it is like to be an African-American who lives in Harlem. Even though it is written as a poem, it still tells a powerful, realistic story.
Meyers creates a nice historical fiction story here. There is action with the Mob and the message of how music was important to the Harlem Renaissance.
Marvin Williams
The book was great. It showed how a black family stayed strong through
hard times. I strongly recommend this book to other readers,its a must reader.
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Stacie Williams
Stacie Johnson

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia but moved to Harlem with his foster parents at age three. He was brought up and went to public school there. He attended Stuyvesant High School until the age of seventeen when he joined the army.

After serving four years in the army, he worked at various jobs and earned a BA from Empi
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