Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

I recently heard Deborah Wiles speak at the SCBWI Orlando Conference, and was thrilled to get an autographed copy of her latest novel.  This is from the book jacket:

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.

REVOLUTION has an unusual format. It's part novel and part scrapbook. In my opinion, that's the book's greatest strength and greatest weakness. I can absolutely see that the black and white photos make a great tool for classrooms. On the other hand, stopping to read a nine-page essay about Cassius Clay, (Muhammed Ali), took me out of the story at hand.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. But with this caveat: Skip all of the photos and essays and read the novel straight through. Then go back and study all of the extra material. It really is fascinating and worth the time, just not when you're trying to become engrossed in a novel.