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Freedom Summer Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Wiles, Deborah, Lagarrigue, Jerome (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 068987829X     ISBN-13: 9780689878299
Publisher: Aladdin
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: January 2005
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Annotation: John Henry swims better than anyone I know.

He crawls like a catfish, blows bubbles like a swamp monster, but he doesn't swim in the town pool with me.

He's not allowed.

Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim.

But there's one important way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is.

Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there . . . only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people's hearts.

This stirring account of the "Freedom Summer" that followed the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 powerfully and poignantly captures two boys' experience with racism and their friendship that defies it.

Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
African Americans; Juvenile fiction.
African Americans; Fiction.
Race relations; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2005001794
Lexile Measure: 460
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 2-3, Age 7-8
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 10.00" W x 0.25" (0.30 lbs) 32 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 46086
Reading Level: 3.2   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q24503
Reading Level: 2.7   Interest Level: Grades K-2   Point Value: 2.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
"John Henry swims better than anyone I know.

He crawls like a catfish,

blows bubbles like a swamp monster,

but he doesn't swim in the town pool with me.

He's not allowed.

"

Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there's one important way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn't allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there...only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people's hearts.


Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring)
In 1964 two young friends--one white, one black--find the town pool being filled with tar to avoid enforced integration. Their disappointment is palpable--and galvanizing. John Henry decides to enter a previously forbidden store, and the friends join arms and go in together. The text, though concise, is full of nuance, and the oil paintings shimmer with the heat of the South in summer. This edition includes a new foreword by Wiles.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Fall)
In 1964, two young friends--one white, one black--find the town pool being filled with tar to avoid enforced integration. Their disappointment is palpable--and galvanizing. John Henry decides to enter a previously forbidden store, and the friends join arms and go in together. The text, though concise, is full of nuance, and the oil paintings shimmer with the heat of the South in summer. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2001 #3)
Set in the South in 1964, this story powerfully conveys the experience of racial prejudice by focusing on two particular boys and their real-live-boy feelings and behavior. Joe's friendship with John Henry, the son of his family's black maid, is defined by the rules of segregation under which they live. "John Henry swims better than anybody I know...but he doesn't swim in the town pool with me. He's not allowed." Joe, who is white, is uncomfortable with the rules but accepts them, buying ice pops for them both, for instance, because his friend isn't allowed inside the general store. Then the announcement that a new law has been passed, and that everything-including the town swimming pool-will be open to everyone now, regardless of color, brings the situation to a head. The author presents the boys' excitement with such immediacy-"'I'm gonna swim in the town pool!' [John Henry] hollers. 'Is it deep?' 'REAL deep,' I tell him.... 'Let's be the first ones there'"-that when next morning they find the pool being filled with tar to avoid the enforced integration, their subsequent disappointment is palpable. It's also galvanizing. As Joe's "head starts to pop with new ideas" ("I want to go to the Dairy Dip with John Henry...I want to go to the picture show, buy popcorn, and watch the movie together"), John Henry decides to go into the previously forbidden store and buy his own ice pop (with his own nickel, thank you), and he and his friend join arms and go in together. The text, though concise, is full of nuance; the repetition of the phrase "he's not allowed" lets readers reach their own conclusions about injustice. Jerome Lagarrigue's oil paintings shimmer with the heat of the South in summer as they portray the boys' activities; they are most effective when capturing emotion, especially in a close-up portrait of John Henry after he's been denied the pleasure-and the right-of swimming in the town pool. He's so hurt his face looks bruised. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Magazine

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2005 January #1)
"Set in Mississippi during the summer of 1964, this affecting debut book about two boys-one white, the other African-American-underscores the bittersweet aftermath of the passage of the Civil Rights Act," wrote PW. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2000 December #1)
Set in Mississippi during the summer of 1964, Wiles's affecting debut children's book about two boys one white and the other African-American underscores the bittersweet aftermath of the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Rather than opening public pools, roller rinks and shops to African-Americans, many towns and private owners boarded up the doors. Wiles delivers her message incisively through the credible voices of her young characters, narrator Joe and his best friend, John Henry, whose mother works as housekeeper for Joe's family. Joe and John spend many hours swimming together in the creek because John is not allowed in the public pool, so on the day the Civil Rights Act is enacted, they visit the town pool together, excited about diving for nickels in the clear water. Instead they find a work crew including John Henry's older brother filling in the pool with asphalt. "John Henry's voice shakes. `White folks don't want colored folks in their pool.' " The tale ends on an upbeat if tenuous note, as the boys walk together through the front door of a once-segregated shop to buy ice pops. Lagarrigue's (My Man Blue) softly focused, impressionistic paintings capture the lazy feel of summer days and affirm the bond between the two boys. The artist's close-up portraits of the boys' faces, as well as the body language of other characters, reinforce the narrative's powerful emotional pitch. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2001 February)
Gr 2-5-This story is set in the South when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law. Two young friends, one black, one white, make a momentous decision-to defy tradition and stand up for the right to walk into a neighborhood store together and buy ice pops. The open-ended story doesn't reveal the success of their brave action; afterall, the town power structure has just filled in the swimming pool to avoid forced integration. The author's use of simile and other colorful language ("John Henry's skin is the color of browned butter," "smells like pine needles after a good rain"), short sentences, and a first-person conversational style help to develop readers' personal involvement with the characters. The soft, richly hued, impressionistic illustrations add to the emotional appeal. A powerful read-aloud for introducing history or sparking discussion.-Eunice Weech, M. L. King Elementary School, Urbana, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
 
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