The Sixties Trilogy – Book 2

2014 National Book Award Finalist

“This is how it works. Everything is connected. Every choice matters. Every person is vital, and valuable, and worthy of respect.”
—Wednesday’s Women, Revolution

Published by: Scholastic Press
Pages: 544, 250 of which are scrapbook pages of documentary, primary source material.
ISBN13: 978-0152066260
Buy the Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Audiobook read by a full cast for Listening Library.


Published by Scholastic Press 2014

  • Five Starred Reviews: Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, The Horn Book.
  • 2014 National Book Award Finalist
  • 2015 Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Book
  • 2015 Golden Kite Award Winner, SCBWI
  • 2014 NAACP Image Award Honoree
  • 2015 Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts
  • 2015 ALA Notable Children’s Books List
  • 2015 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adult Readers List
  • 2015 Jefferson Cup Nominee
  • 2015 NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children
  • Winner of the Parents’ Choice Approved Seal Spring 2014
  • A Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 2014
  • Winner of 2015 Skipping Stones Honor Awards
  • 2015 SIBA Book Award Long List
  • 2015 Amelia Walden Book Award Nominee, ALAN/NCTE
  • 2015 Georgia Center for the Book, Books Every Young Georgian Should Read.
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month 2014
  • End of Year Best Lists 2014: Kirkus, PW, Horn Book, Booklist, The Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature, UCLA
  • Multiple State Book Award Lists

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 award-winning author Deborah Wiles combines primary source materials including songs 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. 

Praise for Revolution

”In Wiles’s second installment of the trilogy, readers are offered two alternate viewpoints from very different worlds within the same Greenwood, Mississippi town during the tumultuous Freedom Summer of 1964. Sunny, a 12-year-old white girl, is worried about reports of “invaders” descending upon the sleepy Southern enclave and causing trouble. Meanwhile, Raymond, a black boy from Baptist Town (known among the white citizens as “Colored Town”), is becoming increasingly aware of all the places (especially the public pool and Leflore’s theater) he is barred from attending due to Jim Crow laws. As Sunny’s worldview is suddenly expanded as she begins to learn more about the sinister underbelly of her seemingly perfect town, her story intersects with Raymond’s. Among the cadre of brave young volunteers working to register black Mississippians to vote­a mix of white and black members of various civil rights associations­is Jo Ellen, the older sister from Countdown (Scholastic, 2010). As in the first book, song lyrics, biblical verses, photographs, speeches, essays, and other ephemera immerse readers in one of the most important­ and dangerous­ moments during the Civil Rights Movement. While Sunny’s experiences receive a slightly deeper focus than Raymond’s, readers are offered a window into each community and will see both characters change and grow over the course of the summer. Inclusion of primary source materials, including the text of a real and vile pamphlet created by KKK members, does not shy away from the reality and hurtful language used by bigots during this time period. For those looking to extend the story with a full-sensory experience, the author has compiled YouTube clips of each song referenced in the book on a Pinterest board ( With elements of family drama and coming-of-age themes that mirror the larger sociopolitical backdrop, Revolution is a book that lingers long after the last page.”­
School Library Journal, starred review

*”It’s an ambitious, heady endeavor that succeeds wonderfully in capturing the atmosphere of that pivotal and eventful summer, with the documents offering a broader context.”
Horn Book, starred review

*”Though the novel is long, it’s also accessible and moving, and it will open many eyes to the brutal, not-so-distant past out of which a new standard of fairness and equality arose.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review 

”Copious photographs and subnarratives encapsulate a very wide range of contemporary people and events. But it is Sunny and, more briefly, Raymond who anchor the story as their separate and unequal lives cross paths again and again and culminate in a horrific drive-by shooting. A stepmother to embrace and equal rights are the prizes ­even as the conflict in Vietnam escalates. Fifty years later, 1960s words and images still sound and resound in this triumphant middle volume of the author’s Sixties Trilogy.”
Kirkus, starred review

”How to tell a story as sprawling, complex and galvanizing as Freedom Summer? Deborah Wiles employs the capacious documentary-novel form she used to powerful effect in “ Countdown,” the first book of her Sixties Trilogy. This second novel follows different characters and is set two years later. Interspersed with the first-person tale of a spunky 12-year-old white girl named Sunny Fairchild are historic newspaper headlines, song lyrics, photographs and portraits of student leader Bob Moses and President Lyndon B. Johnson… What Wiles does, brilliantly, is to plunge readers into that tense, heady era marked by Dr Pepper, Converse sneakers, Willie Mays, and very high stakes. ”
The Washington Post Book World 


Teaching Guide at

Discussion Questions, at Scholastic

Author resources for teaching REVOLUTION are at Pinterest. The Playlist is there, as well as photo resources and primary sources used to create REVOLUTION.


From Chapter One

Yesterday, Gillette figured out how to jiggle the chain-link just so, so we can get in through the back gate, lock and all. Without a word, we sneak through, drop our towels, and strip to our suits. Then, smooth as seals in a calm sea, we slip into that cool, colorless water without a sound and begin to execute perfect breast strokes, side by side, across the 200-foot length of the pool, accompanied by a chorus of crickets, the light from a cantaloupe moon, and the burble of the chlorinated water we gently shove out of our way as it ripples around our arms in the moonlight. We keep our heads above the water and take our time. That’s just the way we do it…. 

The paper said the “invaders” are coming… but I don’t see a thing, right here, right now, so I start my backstroke and tell myself that Gillette is right, so I won’t believe in invaders….

Up-open-shut. How many weeks until school starts again? How many more weeks of freedom?

I hear the water sluice off Gillette as he climbs the ladder. I quicken my froggy pace. “Your going to hit the side,” he warns.

But I don’t hit the side. I don’t hit the end, either. I reach behind me and touch something in the water, something soft and warm pressed into the dark corner of the pool.

Something alive.

And that’s when I scream.

“I don’t ever write authors. But my 7th grade students and I have just finished reading Revolution, and for the first time in my 9 years as an educator, I cried with my students.”
— a teacher, about Revolution