Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

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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.

About Deborah Wiles

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Deborah Wiles was born in Alabama and grew up in an Air Force family, moving many times but digging deep roots into the Mississippi soil of her extended family. She still travels "down South" today from her longtime home in Frederick, Maryland, where she lives with her family and works as a freelance writer. She also teaches writing and oral history workshops -- sharing with children how all history is really biography, and how every person's story is important. This is her first book.
Published January 1, 2005 by Perfection Learning. 32 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Wiles draws on memories of her childhood summers in Mississippi in her first picture book, a slice-of-life story about Joe, a Caucasian boy, and his best friend, John Henry, an African-American boy whose mother works as a housekeeper for Joe’s family.

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Publishers Weekly

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"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 .

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