(NS) Lisa's Reviews > Freedom Summer

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles
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Oct 31, 09

bookshelves: historical-fiction

Joe and John Henry are best friends. They both love to play marbles, eat ice pops, swim in Fiddler's Creek, and when they grow up, they're both planning to be firemen. But as Joe tells, there is one big difference between them... "John Henry's skin is the color of browned butter" and "my skin is the color of the pale moths that dance around the porch light at night." In the early 1960's, there are some things they just can't do together. John Henry's not allowed to swim in the town pool or buy his ice pops at Mr Mason's General Store, but all that is about to change. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act becomes law and segregation has to end. The town's swimming pool will be open to everyone, and John Henry will be able to shop at the general store. The boys are so excited they can hardly sleep and race to the town pool extra early so that they can be there when it opens. But instead of cool blue water, they find workmen filling the pool with asphalt.

This book takes a difficult subject and places it in the simplicity of friendship. For children, the right thing to do was so obvious. Freedom Summer is a story of racism, friendship and the triumph of the human spirit, told with great insight and wisdom. It is an excellent introductory story to a difficult chapter of American history.

This story is recommended for students in kindergarten through third grades.




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