Grade 6-9-Infused with rhetoric that is as meaningful today as it was two generations ago, this young teen's account of a life-changing summer not only opens a window to history, but also displays Nolan's brilliant gift for crafting profoundly appealing protagonists. Increasingly resentful of her forced role as the dim, responsible one in her gifted, well-to-do New York family, Esther acts out with increasing bitterness in a struggle to earn some respect and elbow room. Her rebellion begins to gain traction after King-Roy, the 18-year-old African-American son of her mother's childhood friend, travels up from Alabama to escape accusations that he murdered a white man. As he becomes a radicalized, tough-talking supporter of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, Esther counters by studying the words of James Baldwin, Dr. King, and Mahatma Gandhi-and finds an epiphany in Gandhi's challenge to be the change we want to see in the world. In the end, Esther's family is persuaded by her passion to join her in the famous 1963 march in Washington, DC, and King-Roy heads back home in the wake of uglier events. What sets Esther apart from everyone else in the story-and most readers for that matter-is her ability to see the differences between her own expectations and those that are imposed from outside. Her genuineness is not only wholly admirable, but it also drives King-Roy and her parents crazy, adding a leavening of humor to her narrative's powerful mix of triumph and tragedy.-John Peters, New York Public Library
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Gr. 6-9. Overshadowed by perfect siblings and saddled with a reputation as a slow, stubborn, late bloomer, 14-year-old Esther expects the summer of 1963 to be life-changing. Her hopes are fulfilled when her parents offer a room in their Westchester, New York, mansion to an African American refugee from southern racial violence, whom some call a murderer, others a "victim of prejudice and circumstance." Recently introduced to the militant teachings of Malcolm X, 18-year-old King-Ray Johnson chafes at fraternizing with "white devils," but Esther's dogged overtures eventually result in a tentative, turbulent bond. Throughout, Nolan sharply evokes the questioning of a white teen suddenly shaken "awake to the world," whose romantic notions are challenged by perspectives forged from generations of persecution: "They're smiling out their faces," King-Ray says of northern whites, "but they're still nailing you to the wall every which way they can." Despite several overplayed plot elements, idealistic readers will relate to fierce Esther's determination to join the March on Washington and realize positive change, even as the powerful, troubling conclusion resists sentimental solutions. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The book arrived in perfect quality, not even a scratch was on the dust jacket. It arrived timely, and was exactly what I expected.Published 1 month ago by Alisha Plungy
Great if your lost trying to find something to make sense out of the world your living in
Be the change you want to see in the world
I had to read this for my book club at school so I didn't have any pre-conceived notions about it. I was hooked by the first chapter. Read morePublished on March 10, 2013 by wellsrus
I'm a teacher at the local high school in a small county. We started a book club last year. This book was the book chosen to be October's read. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by Kristen Dowell
i adore this book and hope you will give it a chance. because out of the three hundred books i have read this is one of my very favorites.Published on July 13, 2012 by Michael L. Waters
LOVED IT! It was so amazing. I felt like it took what it was like to be an older child, and then exzaggerated it so it was full of frustration. Read morePublished on March 24, 2012 by Amazon Customer
I received the book in excellent condition.....I wish I would have received it a little faster as it was for a required Pre-AP English book for my daughter but I would definitely... Read morePublished on April 30, 2011 by Brandy Estes
We're reading this in english class for our civil rights unit, and i wait with bated breath every day for the last bell when i can go read some more!! Read morePublished on April 17, 2011 by Belle C.
I read this book because I was browsing different works by Han Nolan. The only other book I'd read by the author was 'Born Blue. Read morePublished on July 10, 2010 by Penn