Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there’s one important way they’re different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn’t allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there . . . only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people’s hearts… This stirring account of the “Freedom Summer” that followed the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 powerfully and poignantly captures two boys’ experience with racism and their friendship that defied it.
I absolutely loved this book. What wonderful and realistic illustrations that marvelously capture this one summer between two friends. It was a pleasure to read and to follow the lives of the boys and witness how the end of segregation affected their friendship. This is a intime story set in a very important moment in the United States recent history. A must read.
❤ this book!
*Ezra Jack Keats award, 2002
Author(s) / illustrator(s) : Deborah Wiles & Jerome Lagarrigue
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 2001
Target audience: 7 to 11 years old
Learn more about french-american illustrator Jérôme Lagarrigue: