Saturday, August 9, 2014

Kid Konnection: Revolution

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a wonderful book from The Sixties Trilogy that is especially timely this summer.

Summary: From award-winning author Deborah Wiles comes the story of a formative year in a nation embroiled in a battle over civil rights. 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. -- Scholastic

A few years ago, I read COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles, the first book in The Sixties Trilogy and I absolutely loved it -- you can read my review here. This book was a documentary novel and truly unlike anything I'd ever read. This book reminded me of a scrapbook because it included photos, news clippings, advertisements, famous quotations, essays on historical figures, and more. The author then incorporated these real life images into the story between the fictional chapters. It was such a unique way to present historical information in a story format. 

Recently, REVOLUTION, the second book in The Sixties Trilogy, was published; and I have to say that, once again, I was blown away. Supposedly, these books are geared towards kids ages 8 - 12; however, I can't imagine anyone loving them more than I do! Like COUNTDOWN, this book had tons of photographs, song lyrics, and news clippings; and I really think it made the book much more real to me.

REVOLUTION takes place in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964. This is especially relevant since this summer is the 50th year anniversary. It tells the story of Sunny, a young white girl who gets caught up in the Civil Rights movement that has come to her hometown of Greenwood.

Sunny is facing many changes in her life -- not unlike those that are occurring all across the south. Her home is being "invaded" and it's not exactly welcome. (Kind of/sort of the same way that the people are arriving in Mississippi to help black citizens register to vote.) Her father has recently married and she has a new brother and sister. She is turning 13 and misses her mother who left her when she was a baby, and she isn't entirely sure she wants her stepmother to fill that role.

One night, Sunny and her stepbrother Gillette sneak into the swimming pool and encounter a teenage black boy. When Gillette tattles to Sunny's father, Sunny turns against Gillette. (Kind of/sort of like some of the whites are turning against the blacks and those who are helping them.) As tensions rise in Greenwood, Sunny isn't sure what's the "right" thing to do and she realizes that it can be scary to help people... even though it's the right thing.

I absolutely loved REVOLUTION and can't rave enough about it. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I think this is the first book I've read that really made me truly understand the Civil Rights era. The historical aspects of this novel are amazing -- and unbelievable in this day and age; however, Sunny's story is equally compelling. I loved how the author tied these two stories together in this book (as I attempted to show you in my description), and I think it was an extremely effective way to get information about a difficult time in our country to modern readers.

I appreciated all of the historical pieces of information that Ms. Wiles incorporated into this book. The pictures were poignant and, at times, troubling; but I feel they brought the stories to the next level. On a personal note, I was very interested in a few of the photographs that were taken in Sumter, South Carolina -- a place I lived as a child.

Of course, a book about the Civil Rights era has to include some important messages. My children find it hard to believe that it was only 50 years ago that our country treated individuals this way. What I loved about this book is that it also had some valuable personal messages for children. Sunny personally learned a great deal during the summer of 1964 including how to stay true to yourself and that doing the right thing is far from easy.

Overall, I loved REVOLUTION. It's already received starred reviews from many sources and it's obvious why. This book should be included in school curriculum across our country. It's that special!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Looks like a fun one!

Stacie said...

I've never heard of these books. My daughter loves the Who is/are... historical books. I bet both of us would love these books! Adding to my cart now! Thanks Julie! said...

Thanks for the invite...linking up with Wednesday's post.

bermudaonion said...

I've got this on audio and can't wait to listen to it!

Beth F said...

I need to read the first one. The books are about my era!