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Cover image for Revolution
First edition.
Physical Description:
495 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm.
Reading Level:
840 L Lexile
It's 1964 in Greenwood, Mississippi, and Sunny's town is being invaded by people from up north who are coming to help people register to vote. Her personal life isn't much better, as a new stepmother, brother, and sister are crowding into her life, giving her little room to breathe.--From publisher description.


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It's 1964, and Sunny's town is being invaded. Or at least that's what the adults of Greenwood, Mississippi, are saying. All Sunny knows is that people from up north are coming to help people register to vote. They're calling it Freedom Summer.

Meanwhile, Sunny can't help but feel like her house is being invaded, too. She has a new stepmother, a new brother, and a new sister crowding her life, giving her little room to breathe. And things get even trickier when Sunny and her brother are caught sneaking into the local swimming pool--where they bump into a mystery boy whose life is going to become tangled up in theirs.

As she did in her groundbreaking documentary novel COUNTDOWN, award-winning author Deborah Wiles uses stories and images to tell the riveting story of a certain time and place--and of kids who, in a world where everyone is choosing sides, must figure out how to stand up for themselves and fight for what's right.

Author Notes

Deborah Wiles is the author of the picture book Freedom Summer and the novels: Love, Ruby Lavender ; The Aurora County All-Stars ; and Each Little Bird That Sings , a National Book Award finalist, and A Long Line of Cakes . She is also the author of the documentary novels Countdown and Revolution , a National Book Award Finalist, and Anthem . She has vivid memories of ducking and covering under her school desk during air-raid drills at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. She also sang in the Glee Club, was a champion speller, and hated Field Day. Deborah lives in Atlanta, Georgia. You can visit her on the web at

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set during the Freedom Summer of 1964, the second installment of Wiles's Sixties Trilogy begins as hundreds of civil rights activists descend on the town of Greenwood, Miss. to help disenfranchised black citizens overcome voting hurdles erected by local officials. The town is grappling with racial tension, and 12-year-old Sunny Fairchild and her brother are caught in the middle during a late-night adventure at a public swimming pool that bans African-Americans-including the young Raymond, whom Sunny and her brother meet. The story makes for a superb audiobook. Chapters are interwoven with re-created sound bites of reports, speeches, and radio announcements made to sound like authentic primary sources. Asward narrates Sunny's chapters with a friendly Southern twang and youthful energy that captures the character perfectly. Battiste provides an equally engaging, and at times solemn and reflective, Raymond. Listeners will be enthralled. Ages 8-12. A Scholastic hardcover. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Wiles's complex, ambitious novel of 1964's Freedom Summer intertwines multiple perspectives, supplementing the main narrative with documentary imagery, quotes, and facsimile newspaper stories to immerse the reader in the volatile tumult of the times. This audio production employs a full cast of readers to interpret the documentary content, taking time to read headlines, sing spirituals, and spit hateful pronouncements. While that documentary interpretation is impressively authentic and stupefying, the backbone of the audiobook is the alternating narration of protagonists Sunny and Ray, performed with the same nuance and growth with which they are written. Through the narrators' honest portrayal, the characters become real people, making their reconciliation to their historical circumstances all the more powerful. thom barthelmess (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In this second book in the Sixties Trilogy, the action shifts to Greenwood, Mississippi, and focuses on Freedom Summer and its effect on the town. Twelve-year-old Sunny has family problems that, at first, suppress anything going on in the wider world. Her mother has deserted her, her father has remarried, and his new wife, Annabelle, comes with a son, Gillette, who is a little older than Sunny; a young daughter; Annabelle's mother; and a dog. But events begin to shake the citizenry, including Sunny and Gillette, who spot an African American boy leaving the segregated pool at night. The boy, Ray, is a harbinger of what's to come as invaders from the North (including Jo Ellen, the older sister in Countdown, 2010) open a Freedom School, register blacks to vote, and try to integrate public venues. This push begets pull, and soon Greenwood is awash in protests, arrests, and bloody violence. Several voices narrate, but the story belongs to Ray and, mostly, Sunny, whose confusion, dismay, fear, and bravery will resonate strongly with readers. Occasionally the family issues threaten to overwhelm the engrossing scenes of a society-altering summer. For the most part, though, Wiles does an excellent job of entwining the two plot strands and seamlessly integrating her exhaustive research, which is detailed at the book's conclusion. She also grew up in the South and brings an insider's authenticity. As in Countdown, the outstanding period artwork, photographs, snippets of sayings, and songs interspersed throughout bring a troubled time close.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2014 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-The summer of 1964, Freedom Summer, is a time of major changes for Greenwood, MS, its residents, and the entire United States. This story is told from two perspectives: Sunny, a white girl, and Raymond, an African American boy. Sunny feels like her home has been overrun by her father's new wife, her two children, and her mother, but the grownups in town are concerned with "invaders" from the North: the young people who came to organize the black vote in Mississippi. Raymond cannot understand why, when the laws of the country have changed, the town still prohibits black citizens from swimming in the town pool, going to a movie, or eating in some restaurants. Narrators Stacey Aswad, Francois Battiste, J.D. Jackson, and Robin Miles effectively present the personalities of Sunny and Raymond, as well as secondary characters, famous speeches, advertisements, and songs from the era. VERDICT The production is riveting, fast-paced, and in turns both gently humorous and horrifying, providing an illuminating and timely glimpse into issues and events that are still very much with us today. ["With elements of family drama and coming-of-age themes that mirror the larger socio-political backdrop, Revolution is a book that lingers long in the mind after the last page": SLJ 12/14 starred review of the Scholastic book.]-Maria Salvadore, formerly Washington, DC, Public Library © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Freedom Summer in 1964 Mississippi brings both peaceful protest and violence into the lives of two young people.Twelve-year-old Sunny, who's white, cannot accept her new stepmother and stepsiblings. Raymond, "a colored boy," is impatient for integration to open the town's pool, movie theater and baseball field. When trained volunteers for the Council of Federated Organizationsan amalgam of civil rights groupsflood 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. In this companion to Countdown (2010) (with returning character Jo Ellen as one of the volunteers), Wiles once again 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 prizeseven as the conflict in Vietnam escalates.Fifty years later, 1960s words and images still sound and resound in this triumphant middle volume of the author's Sixties Trilogy. (author's note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 11-15) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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