Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday
Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!
Disclaimer: This book is technically historical fiction, but I felt it belonged on a Wednesday because of its base in fact (see “A Note About The Text”).
Author: Deborah Wiles
Illustrator: Jerome Lagarrigue
Published January 1st, 2005 by Aladdin
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.
My Review: Deborah Wiles amazes me every time I read something by her. I think I need to get everything she has written and devour it. Her books make me a better person. This one is no exception to these statements. Freedom Summer starts with a personal story of Wiles’s and sets the stage for the book: What would it be like to have a best friend who is black in the South in 1964? Do you know what it is like? Any other friendship! Except many people felt that it was wrong and you cannot go places together. Freedom Summer is about Joe and John Henry. They are both young boys. They both like to swim. They both love ice cream. However, only one can go to the pool and only one can buy ice cream from the store. I think what makes this story so impactful is that Wiles sets the stage of the friendship as something so normal (because it is!!) then shows how different their lives are. So powerful. Made me cry. It’s lyrical writing, soft and beautiful illustrations, and powerful message are so moving. Go read it if you haven’t.
You can view Ricki’s review of Freedom Summer here.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book belongs in classrooms. It will start discussions and make students think. Luckily, Deborah Wiles helps us out a ton by sharing so many resources with us on her Pinterest board https://www.pinterest.com/debbiewiles/ and her website http://deborahwiles.com/site/resources-for-educators/.
Discussion Questions: Why was the pool being filled with tar?; What do you think will happen after the end of the book?; Based on Joe’s parents letting him be friends with John Henry, what can you infer their viewpoint of integration is?
Read This If You Loved: Revolution by Deborah Wiles, Seeds of Freedom by Hester Bass, Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh, The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine, Sin-In by Andrea Pinkney
15 thoughts on “Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles (Kellee’s Review)”
This does sound like a lovely book. I am always on the lookout for multicultural titles so that I can add them to my text-set for my higher-degree class. Will try to see if we have this in our library. Thanks again!
This is a definite must buy, Myra. Such an important (and well done!) book!
Kellee – I do the same thing. If the author does a great job at research and there are a lot of great resources at the end, I will still add it to my post but put a disclaimer. I love this book and it is good to remember older titles with important messages. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for understanding 🙂 Although this is a work of fiction, it is full of truths.
It’s great that Wiles has created a picture book for younger children about this time, too. Definitely a must read. Thanks, Kellee!
I agree. Such an asset to picture books!
I love this book. Such a powerful picture book title. Have you read the novel Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood? This novel would also pair well with your other suggestions.
I have not read Glory Be. I remember really wanting to, but it had gone off my radar–thank you for putting it back on it. If I don’t get to it, I’ll need to put it on my #mustread for next year!
I want to read more about this subject. I think I was first introduced to Freedom Riders with Revolution.
Next to learning about them a little bit in Freedom Writers, me too, Earl.
I think I remember Ricki mentioning this book to me months ago and I was so glad. I loved it. I thought Wiles did an amazing job capturing a very tumultuous time and told in the voice of a child. She is an amazing writer!
Yes, Ricki is a big advocate of this book as well. She is the one that told me I had to read it.
Sounds like a powerful and important read. Thanks
Right, friendship is normal. I love how that premise is established at the beginning. Swimming as part of segregation is such a great way in to share this time period with young children.
associate to the supreme Mabosway sports betting rotate by registering – Are you
looking for an thrill-seeking and further experience in the world of online
gambling? You have come to the right place, because here you can link us,
the best and most trusted gambling site agent in Indonesia!
We are lucky to be adept to give the best servants to members who are always loyal
to trust us and make us a gambling partner. Therefore, we have prepared various types of fun and well-liked games such as Mabosway sports betting,
casino, lottery, and others.
Not lonesome that, there are furthermore many promos that we will
provide and of course it is all aimed at the gain of the members.
every the services that are gratifying for you like you
become a aficionada here. Here are some of our advantages
exceeding additional sites:
The growth and dissolution process is quick
Members’ personal data and identities are always safe and will
not leak to extra parties
Mabosway login, one user ID that can be used for various types
Customer staff who are always ready to help you 24/7
Unlimited Bonuses and Promos
The best bolster supported by years of experience has made Mabosway always trusted
by its members and earned the title as the best gambling
site agent in Indonesia.