Review of Revolution

wiles_revolutionstar2 Revolution [Sixties Trilogy]
by Deborah Wiles
Intermediate, Middle School     Scholastic     538 pp.
5/14     978-0-545-10607-8     $19.99
e-book ed. 978-0-545-63400-7     $19.99

Invaders arrive by the hundreds, making all in their path uneasy. Life as everyone knows it is about to change. Some join their ranks; others fight back. H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds? No, it is 1964, Freedom Summer, in Greenwood, Mississippi, and civil rights volunteers who come South to help black residents register to vote are, indeed, seen as invaders. In this sequel to Countdown (rev. 5/10), twelve-year-old Sunny Fairchild (who is white) tells of a town turned upside-down, in need of change but resistant to it. Sunny finds a mother figure in Jo Ellen Chapman, a character introduced in Countdown, now a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This second volume continues the documentary novel format, with all manner of documents — photographs, essays, presidential race slogans, song lyrics, and quotations — interspersed with Sunny’s first-person narrative and occasional chapters narrated by Raymond Bullis, a black teen who may just be the next Willie Mays. It’s an ambitious, heady endeavor that succeeds wonderfully in capturing the atmosphere of that pivotal and eventful summer, with the documents offering a broader context. SNCC, the Klan, the Citizens’ Council, the FBI, and everyday people play their parts, and no one is left unchanged. An author’s note and a solid bibliography round out this innovative work commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer.

Dean Schneider
Dean Schneider teaches seventh and eighth grades at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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