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A Summer of Kings Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Nolan, Han

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ISBN: 0547577303     ISBN-13: 9780547577302
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: February 2012

Annotation: Over the course of the summer of 1963, fourteen-year-old Esther Young discovers the passion within her when eighteen-year-old King-Roy Johnson, accused of murdering a white man in Alabama, comes to live with her family.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Race relations; Fiction.
Civil rights movements; Fiction.
African Americans; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2012002683
Lexile Measure: 950
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.25" H x 5.25" W x 1.00" (0.60 lbs) 334 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q38842
Reading Level: 6.4   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 20.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s):
HAN NOLAN is the author of six previous highly acclaimed novels published by Harcourt.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall)
Esther, a white, affluent fourteen-year-old, gains awareness of race relations in 1963 America when King-Roy Johnson, a young black man, introduces her to some disturbing ideas about effecting change through revolution. Though characters feel forced and plot is overly driven by political exposition, Nolan provides an impassioned look at the philosophical differences between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2006 March #4)

Nolan (Dancing on the Edge ) movingly conveys a teen's introduction to the civil rights movement in this intimate story set in the summer of 1963. Esther, the daughter of a renowned New York director, has led a sheltered, unhappy existence in suburbia. Overshadowed by her highly gifted younger siblings, she feels inadequate and lonely. Esther's view of herself, her family and the world undergoes a radical change during her 14th summer when her parents agree to provide refuge for an 18-year-old African-American named King-Roy, who is accused of killing a white man (his mother and Esther's mother were childhood friends). While the adults in the household (especially Esther's eccentric Auntie Pie) remain wary about protecting a fugitive, Esther eagerly befriends their guest. Throughout the summer, she learns about injustices in the South that have caused King-Roy to become angry and mistrustful, but she disagrees with his notion, adopted by Malcolm X, that violence is the only answer to prejudice. The frequent allusions to the Nation of Islam and Martin Luther King at times can feel forced, but this thought-provoking novel will likely raise young readers' consciousness alongside Esther's, as she broadens her perspective of social ills, gains self-confidence and eventually steps out of the shadows to stand up for what she believes. If minor characters, particularly Esther's insensitive mother and bratty sister, come off as stereotypes, Esther emerges as a convincing, admirable heroine. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

[Page 80]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2006 April)

Gr 6-9 -Infused with rhetoric that is as meaningful today as it was two generations ago, this young teen's account of a life-changing summer not only opens a window to history, but also displays Nolan's brilliant gift for crafting profoundly appealing protagonists. Increasingly resentful of her forced role as the dim, responsible one in her gifted, well-to-do New York family, Esther acts out with increasing bitterness in a struggle to earn some respect and elbow room. Her rebellion begins to gain traction after King-Roy, the 18-year-old African-American son of her mother's childhood friend, travels up from Alabama to escape accusations that he murdered a white man. As he becomes a radicalized, tough-talking supporter of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam, Esther counters by studying the words of James Baldwin, Dr. King, and Mahatma Gandhi-and finds an epiphany in Gandhi's challenge to "be the change we want to see in the world." In the end, Esther's family is persuaded by her passion to join her in the famous 1963 march in Washington, DC, and King-Roy heads back home in the wake of uglier events. What sets Esther apart from everyone else in the story-and most readers for that matter-is her ability to see the differences between her own expectations and those that are imposed from outside. Her genuineness is not only wholly admirable, but it also drives King-Roy and her parents crazy, adding a leavening of humor to her narrative's powerful mix of triumph and tragedy.-John Peters, New York Public Library

[Page 145]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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