Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Stroke, Stroke



6.  Deborah Wiles.
Jerome Lagarrigue, illustrator.
Freedom Summer.
New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001.

The image of boys racing across a swimming hole captures the heady sense of freedom children feel during the summer months. In Freedom Summer, it is two boys' love of swimming that tests their friendship. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which officially ended institutionalized segregation in 1964, Joe and John Henry anticipate swimming in the new municipal pool. On the first day, John Henry is turned away because he is African-American, in defiance of the law's guarantee that "all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment" of all public places, regardless of "race, color, religion, or national origin." The boys head back to the swimming hole and stop for ice pops on the way, walking together into the store for the first time—a small, bittersweet victory.

This was the debut of Wiles and Lagarrigue as children's picture book creators. The book won the 2002 Once Upon a World Children's Book Award sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the 2002 New Writer/New Illustrator Award given by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, and the 2002 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent award. (Image Credits)