Review of the Week – Revolution by Deborah Wiles

revolutionWiles, Deborah. Revolution. Fiction. Sixties Trilogy Series. Scholastic, 2014. 495p. $19.99. 978-0-545-10607-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 5-9.
Sunny, a 12-year-old white girl in 1964 Mississippi, is the main narrator of this thoughtful novel, describing the summer when Northern college students came to town to help African Americans register to vote and run summer programs for children. One volunteer, Jo Ellen (from Wiles’ Countdown, 2010), has a major influence on motherless Sunny. There is a secondary narrator, Raymond, an African American teen in the same town; the reader gets to hear his take on the Freedom Summer experience in contrast to Sunny’s experience. This novel stands alone (one does not need to read Countdown to follow Revolution), and like the first book, it contains a wealth of photographs, posters, song lyrics, and newspaper clippings from that time, including information on the war in Vietnam. The factual illustrative matter helps to set the plot in context, showing that similar events actually happened to real people, giving the story more resonance than the average novel. Pair with non-fiction selections Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell (2014) or Freedom Summer by Susan Rubin Goldman (Holiday, 2014).

Penny Peck, SJSU SLIS

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