Monday, February 7, 2011

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

Title: Freedom Summer
Author: Deborah Wiles
Illustrator: Jarome Laqarrique
Publisher / Date: Simon & Schuster / 2005
Genre: Historical fiction; picture book
Themes: Civil Rights, friendship, discrimination, segregation, history
Summary:  Joe and his friend, John Henry enjoy spending the summer together as buddies. These good friends are alike in a lot of ways and enjoy many of the same things, like playing marbles and swimming. Set in 1964 in Mississippi, Joe and John Henry experience first hand the effects of discrimination. The boys decide to go swimming at the pool only to discover that John Henry is not allowed because of the color of his skin.  They become hopeful once the Civil Rights Act is passed but quickly learn that the new law will not bring on instant change.
Curriculum Connections: Grades 2-5: Social Studies, Civil Rights
Personal Note: I attended a recent author visit by Deborah Wiles in which she explained that this story is a work of fiction but it is based on events from her own life. This is a moving story appropriately written for children about this historic time in our nation's history. 

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