2014 National Book Award Finalist, Young People's Literature

Deborah Wiles

Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two John Corey Whaley
Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two

Scholastic Press

ISBN: 978-0545106078


Parallel narratives of two children—one black, one white—propel the reader into the events and emotions of Freedom Summer, 1964, in Greenwood, Mississippi. Peppered throughout the fiction, Wiles deftly places nonfiction—politics to pop culture: quotes, articles, editorials, biographical sketches, songs, and a wealth of visual materials that provide historical context.

Compelling characters and multiple perspectives immerse readers into the texture of that tumultuous time and invite them to reflect on issues today.


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, 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.


Deborah Wiles is the author of picture books and novels for young readers including Each Little Bird That Sings, a National Book Award Finalist, and Countdown, book one of “The Sixties Trilogy: Three Novels of the 1960s for Young Readers.” She teaches and writes from Atlanta, Georgia.


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Image and text excerpted from Revolution, book II of Deborah Wiles’ Sixties Trilogy and a Finalist for the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

They takin’ over.

We got two of ‘em in our house now, sleepin’ in the same bed. My bed.

They all over Baptist Town and Gritney, even in Gee Pee.

Freedom House on the same street as us. People from up north keep sending boxes full of books, clothes, shoes, food. Got my good shoes from one of those boxes last yer. But Pap says don’t go there no more. Still, Ree there every day, can’t do nuthin’ with her. She singnig and reading and writing at that Freedom School. Ma’am say, “let her be,” and Pap shake his head and sharpen his mower blades

Police drive through, slow, every day, watchin’, looking for invaders.

Ma’am scared about that, but still, she feed them. Freedom Righters crowder peas and pinto beans and turnip greens at our table, then they wash at our pumps, sleep in our beds.

They knock on everybody’s doors. “Register to vote! Be a first-class citizen!”

Some folks crazy, they say yes. Some slam doors to they faces. Miss Neddie Ruth Adams, she throw a skillet at a SNCC’s head and yell, “Git!” But they don’t git.

They go out to the plantations, too. “Register!”

Some SNCC colored. Some white. They all cockeyed to a rooster.

And the white men drive by in they slow cars, so everybody afraid.