Books: Fiction

Revolution

Book – Fiction. By Deborah Wiles 2014. 544 pages.
Historical fiction for young adults set in Greenwood, Mississippi during the 1964 Freedom Summer.

Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship

Freedom Summer in 1964 Mississippi brings both peaceful protest and violence into the lives of two young people in Revolution.

Twelve-year-old Sunny, who’s white, cannot accept her new stepmother and stepsiblings. African American Raymond is impatient for integration to open the town’s pool, movie theater and baseball field. When trained volunteers for the Council of Federated Organizations—an amalgam of civil rights groups—flood the town to register black voters and establish schools, their work is met with suspicion and bigotry by whites and fear and welcome by blacks. Wiles blends a coming-of-age story with pulsating documentary history. Excerpts from contemporary newspapers, leaflets and brochures brutally expose Ku Klux Klan hatred and detail Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee instructions on how to react to arrest while on a picket line. Song lyrics from the Beatles, Motown and spirituals provide a cultural context. Copious photographs and subnarratives encapsulate a very wide range of contemporary people and events. But it is Sunny and, more briefly, Raymond who anchor the story as their separate and unequal lives cross paths again and again and culminate in a horrific drive-by shooting. A stepmother to embrace and equal rights are the prizes—even as the conflict in Vietnam escalates. [Kirkus Review]

ISBN: 9780545106078 | Published by Scholastic, Inc.