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Freedom Summer Paperback – January 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is realistic, and we can always use more books about history. It's well-written, I like the artwork.
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?
Instead this is a book that notices suffering through whites' perspective. I mean, it's great that they are friends and get along so well, but how well does Joe really understand his BEST FRIEND John Henry's world? Because he only just realized how important it was to be equal -- he never noticed it before?
I am sorry, because I wanted more from this book. Love the illustrations.
** update **
I note that I am not the first commenter to point this out. This is a great book, but I think it is told from the wrong perspective.
Ulyyf "connie" made a similar observation in her review before I wrote my own.
Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue won both the 2002 Ezra Jack Keats Award as well as a Coretta Scott King Award. It begins with two friends enjoying the leisurely pace of summer, hanging around, being friends together, swimming in a local creek. “John Henry swims better than anybody” the narrator knows. They ecstatically anticipate the prospect of the local community pool’s opening day. But, when they arrive at the gates, the boys discover that the facility has been bulldozed. No one will swim there again.
Because this story takes place in a segregated America. In 1960, laws ensured blacks could not share facilities with whites. After desegregation legislation passed, instead of complying, Mobile, Alabama opted to close the town pool, ice cream parlor, and roller rink. Hate and prejudice blinded people to fairness and the rights of all citizens to equality and access to facilities. To deny blacks access, they denied the entire community access.
This award-winning book splendidly captures the boys’ friendship so when they encounter the closed pool, the reader feels dazed by the community’s betrayal. The conversations this book might open are important one on issues such as racism, prejudice as well as loyalty, friendship and thinking for oneself.
The forward by the other offers additional insights about her motives for writing the book as well as her personal encounters with segregation during her own childhood.
The potential for adoption-related conversations is broad.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good primary level book to teach the theme of injustice and discrimination. I used it with middle school students.Published 2 months ago by Donna M. Moorman
This book is not about the Freedom Summer movement, it is about an inter-racial friendship that took place at that time. The storyline is not engaging. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lissa Parker
A hard tale. Joe and John Henry both love swimming, but Joe is white and John Henry is Black and this is the 1960s deep South. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dione Basseri
Actually I ordered the wrong version. I meant to order the adult version. Will donate to library.Published 10 months ago by Mary W. Quigley
Wonderful perspective for raising white allies in order to give historical perspective to the history of segregation.Published 13 months ago by Margaret Baumgartner
My children loved this book! An awesome book share for my Kindergartener.Published 15 months ago by BG