Category: Fiction

50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer

By , July 27, 2014

In the summer of 1964, around one thousand young people, mostly college students, mostly white, headed to Mississippi. Their goals seemed simple. Help black people to register to vote. Start community schools, libraries, and centers. They knew it would be tough. Mississippi law was not on their side.

Check out the full movie: Freedom Summer from Nashville Public Library


Freedom Summer by Susan Goldman Rubin

Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi 
by Susan Goldman Rubin

The disappearance of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner forms the backbone of this thoroughly researched book. Rubin conducted interviews with many of the students and leaders present in Mississippi during that summer, interweaving their stories with news accounts and other primary source documentation. The real treasures of the book, however, are the photographs. From frightening scenes of violence to the peaceful setting of children reading in a library, readers are able to viscerally connect with that long-ago summer.

Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell

The Freedom Summer Murders  
by Don Mitchell

Who were those three young men who were shot in a dark, secluded Mississippi woods? Their names and faces mobilized the first real government interference in Mississippi’s racist political system, but they did not set out to be heroes. Mitchell traces the early years of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, as well as the reactions of their families to their disappearance at the onset of Freedom Summer.


Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

Freedom Summer  
by Deborah Wiles
illustrated by John Lagarrigue

John Henry swims better than anyone I know. He crawls like a catfish, blows bubbles like a swamp monster, but he doesn’t swim in the town pool with me. He’s not allowed. 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.

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood

Glory Be  
by Augusta Scattergood

A Mississippi town in 1964 gets riled when tempers flare at the segregated public pool. As much as Gloriana June Hemphill, or Glory as everyone knows her, wants to turn twelve, there are times when Glory wishes she could turn back the clock a year. Jesslyn, her sister and former confidante, no longer has the time of day for her now that she’ll be entering high school. Then there’s her best friend, Frankie. Things have always been so easy with Frankie, and now suddenly they aren’t. Maybe it’s the new girl from the North that’s got everyone out of sorts. Or maybe it’s the debate about whether or not the town should keep the segregated public pool open.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

by Deborah Wiles

Sunny is twelve-years-old as the summer of 1964 begins to bake her home in Greenwood, Mississippi. She’s already feeling overwhelmed by her new stepmother and her two kids, and now there’s talk of white people coming to stir up trouble for everyone. And sure enough, right away three Freedom Summer workers disappear. Violence hangs like a thundercloud over Greenwood, while Sunny frantically tries to understand who is right.


Freedom Summer by Bruce Watson

Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy 
by Bruce Watson

A majestic history of the summer of ’64, which forever changed race relations in America In the summer of 1964, with the civil rights movement stalled, seven hundred college students descended on Mississippi to register black voters, teach in Freedom Schools, and live in sharecroppers’ shacks. But by the time their first night in the state had ended, three volunteers were dead, black churches had burned, and America had a new definition of freedom. This remarkable chapter in American history is the subject of Bruce Watson’s thoughtful and riveting historical narrative.

Like a Holy Crusade by Nicolaus Mills

Like a Holy Crusade: Mississippi 1964 – The Turning of the Civil Rights Movement in America  
by Nicolaus Mills

We remember the Kennedy men of the 1960s as “the best and the brightest”; we celebrate the Mercury astronauts for having “the right stuff.” But, Mills writes, if anyone in the 1960s earned the right to be called heroes it was the men and women who risked their lives to carry out the Mississippi Summer Project. That summer took a terrible toll on staff, volunteers, and, above all, those black families who opened their homes to the movement. In the face of danger, courage was everywhere.


Freshwater Road by Denise Nichols

Freshwater Road  
by Denise Nichols

Nineteen-year-old Celeste Tyree leaves Ann Arbor to go to Pineyville, Mississippi, in the summer of 1964 to help found a voter registration project as part of Freedom Summer. As the summer unfolds, she confronts not only the political realities of race and poverty in this tiny town, but also deep truths about her family and herself.



Mississippi Burning (movie) Mississippi Burning (DVD)

Two FBI agents investigate the deaths of civil rights workers in a Mississippi town. Tension is caused by the discovery of a local coverup.

Directed by Alan Parker. With Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, and Brad Dourif.


Neshoba (movie)

 Neshoba: The Price of Freedom (DVD)

The story of a Mississippi town forty years after the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, an event dramatized in the Oscar-winning film Mississippi Burning. No one was held accountable until 2005, when the State indicted preacher Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old notorious racist and mastermind of the murders.

Directed by Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano


The Nashville Room at the Nashville Public Library’s Main Branch has many resources on the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these books are unique and hard to find. Below is a list of books available in the Nashville Room. These books cannot be checked out.

Letters from Mississippi

Letters from Mississippi: Reports from the Civil Rights Volunteers and Freedom School Poetry of the 1964 Freedom Summer  
ed. by Elizabeth Martinez

800 students gathered for a week-long orientation session at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, in June, 1964, before leaving for Mississippi. They were mostly white and young, with an average age of 21. Letters from Mississippi is a collection of moving, personal letters written by volunteers of the summer.

And Gently He Shall Lead Them

And Gently He Shall Lead Them: Robert Parris Moses and Civil Rights in Mississippi  
by Eric Burner

Moses spent almost three years in Mississippi trying to awaken the state”s black citizens to their moral and legal rights before the fateful summer of 1964 would thrust him and the Freedom Summer movement into the national spotlight. This first biography, a primer in the life of a unique American, sheds significant light on the intellectual and philosophical worldview of a man who is rarely seen but whose work is always in evidence.

Freedom Summer - Belfrage

Freedom Summer 
by Sally Belfrage

Published in 1965, Belfrage recounts her time participating in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s summer project in Mississippi in 1964. The text covers one intense summer from the basic training session in June to the Democratic Convention in August.
Faces of Freedom SummerFaces of Freedom Summer
text by Bobs M. Tusa
photographs by Herbert Randall

These rare photographs re-create the exhilaration and danger of Freedom Summer in 1964 Mississippi.

David Baldacci – The Finisher

By , July 26, 2014

David Baldacci discusses The Finisher, his first fantasy novel for young readers. This author talk was recorded July 10, 2014. David Baldacci appeared as part of the continuing Salon@615 author series.

Learn more about Salon@615 and view upcoming author visits at

Listen to the Archived Recording

Download MP3 audio

Subscribe to Salon@615 podcast

Book review: Four

By , July 22, 2014

By Veronica Roth

2014 is the summer of Divergent. Last fall we finished up the book trilogy. Here’s what I said then. In March, the first movie came out, starring  Shailene Woodley and Theo James. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard really good things both from folks who read the books and those who didn’t. Good thing NPL has the Divergent DVD on order. Better place your hold today, though, because this list isn’t getting any shorter (I think I’m 178…sigh).

But luckily for you, while you’re waiting for the movie, a new collection of short stories was just released featuring Four aka Tobias. I always like when authors go back and add scenes or rewrite things with an opposite perspective from their original (even with Twilight’s “Midnight Son“). With this Divergent collection, we get four stories about Four. They are pretty easy reads – I managed to polish them off in a couple of hours. It was fun, though, to be back in that world and get a better picture of how things unfolded.

Just to whet your whistle a little – the first story is called “The Transfer” and described Tobias’ choice in becoming Dauntless. Then we learn about his Dauntless training in “The Initiate” (made me want to punch Eric in the face even more than I already did). In the third story, Roth shows us why Tobias chose not to lead Dauntless in “The Son”. And finally in “The Traitor”, we see Tobias try and save the world.

So make sure you get your hold placed today. There will be a few folks in front of you in line, but nothing like for the DVD plus we bought A LOT of copies, so your wait will hopefully be short and sweet.

Happy reading…

:) Amanda


Comics review: Afterlife with Archie

By , July 17, 2014

Jeremy returns to remind us that even good, wholesome kids can get turned into zombies. What’s best about this is that he assumes we still know who the characters from Archie are. Summer Challenge is a great time to get reacquainted with the (re-animated) gang from Riverdale.

Afterlife with Archie: Book One, Escape from Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla

old school Archie comics

Archie meets Glee

Archie meets KISS

The Walking Dead TV show

The Walking Dead comic

The Black Beetle by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

music by Black Dice Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive

Book review: The Deepest Secret

By , June 26, 2014

The Deepest Secret

By Carla Buckley


How far would you go to protect your child?

One day while Eve was driving, a horrible accident occurred, forcing her to make a fast decision. A decision with results so powerful, that it created a domino effect on those around her. Destroying the lives of people in her small community, turning neighbor against neighbor and ultimately revealing secrets best kept hidden.

Carla Buckley’s fast paced storytelling will keep you riveted until the last page….don’t miss The Deepest Secret.




 If you enjoy The Deepest Secret you may want to try Carla Buckley’s other novel:













Book review: Long Division

By , June 19, 2014

Jesse the mumblecore librarian is back! Long Division is like Back to the Future but with Lil Wayne instead of Chuck Berry. Things get awkward when he talks about race. This is a great book for adults and teens to read together during Summer Challenge.

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany

Haruki Murakami

The Help

Kiese Laymon’s website

Kiese Laymon on twitter

music by Black Dice Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive


Book review: Delicious!

By , June 10, 2014

By Ruth Reichl

You know something is a good book when you keep reading through the recipes and author’s note and acknowledgements and about the author (even though it’s exactly the same as what you already read on the back book flap), just so you can delay the let down that comes with finishing a fully engrossing and enjoying work. “It’s not over yet,” you tell yourself as you read about the typeface used in this book (Filosofia, in this case). But eventually, the pages will run out and you think, and may even say out loud, “Man, that was a great book,” then sigh contentedly.

Enter Ruth Reichl.

Reichl has been popular for years as a food writer, but with Delicious! she enters the wonderful world of fiction. Set in New York City, Reichl’s book follows Billie, our heroine, as she begins her journalistic career at Delicious!  - the most prominent food magazine of the day. Being a Midwestern girl myself, I must admit that New York has always sort of intimidated me, but the first part of this book made me wish I lived there, just like Billie. It gave the city such a cozy, homey feel. I almost wanted to work at Sal’s cheese shop, but I don’t have the palette that Billie did, so he probably wouldn’t let me.

The second portion of the book begins a treasure hunt through letters written from a young girl named Lulu to James Beard as he worked for Delicious! during World War II. Honestly it was really a 180 degree shift from where we had been, but in Reichl’s hands, the material works. As a reader, you find yourself getting caught up with Billie in figuring out how to find the next letter. You don’t even miss the rest of the staff when Delicious! closes and Billie is left alone in the office/grand mansion.

If you are looking for a great summer read – definitely start here. There is a little romance to spice things up if the food portion seems too boring for you. I hadn’t read anything from Reichl before, but now I’m interested in reading her nonfiction books like  Comfort Me with Apples or Tender at the Bone. Hopefully they will be as tasty as Delicious!

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

PS This book was so good that I’m going to get a copy so my grandma can read it. Come on…no one can argue with Grandma right?



Book List: New Teen Novels for Summer

By , June 3, 2014

The library is a lovely place in the summer. All those books you passed over during the school year are now begging to be read. Books are like mini-vacations; they can take you to faraway places and allow you to meet new characters. If a book is not available at your local library, you may place it on hold, and it will be delivered to whichever library you choose.

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

Call Me By My Name 
by John Ed Bradley

School has just let out in the summer of 1969, where racism heats up  a small Louisiana town worse than the hot afternoon sun. Twins Rodney and Angie are white kids who know the rules separating blacks and whites. But they don’t understand how anybody could see Tater Henry as a threat. When Tater proves to be an outstanding athlete, the rules of discrimination seem to melt around him.

Well, not all of the rules.

Author John Ed Bradley is the author of It Never Rains in Tiger Stadiuma memoir described by Sports Illustrated as the best sports book of the year [2007.] He can write about sports as poignantly as he can write about matters of the heart.

Exile by Kevin Emerson

by Kevin Emerson
Also available in ebook format from Overdrive.

PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High is a young musician’s dream school. For starters, the Fall Kickoff concert takes place in the school’s stone amphitheater tricked out with state of the art light and sound systems. Everyone is in a band, or, like Summer Carlson, learning the management end of the music business. Summer starts her senior year feeling adrift, but on Day 1 she meets Caleb Daniels, a charismatic musician who could form the core of a new band.

Caleb does not come without baggage. To Summer’s astonishment, he turns out to be the son of a famous rock star, Eli White, who is now dead. But White left behind three lost songs, and Summer joins Caleb on a mission to track them down.

Music fans will love the Nirvana references and debates over musical styles. But be warned: Exile is the first in a trilogy. This volume ends a bit abruptly. Check out Kevin Emerson’s accompanying soundtrack below.

Exile Soundtrack Vol. 1 by Kevin Emerson

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True 
by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Gwen’s family lives on an island populated by wealthy people in elegant mansions, and the working folks who walk their dogs, prepare their food, and clean their houses. Gwen herself has landed a relatively cushy job as a companion to an elderly (and very rich) woman. But she is stunned to find Cass  Summers, a gorgeous boy who knows  Gwen’s dreadful secret, working on the island as a yard boy. Awkward!

Life can be easier when people fall into convenient stereotypes, such as rich and poor. Gwen finds many of her assumptions challenged, however, over the course of the summer. And maybe she realizes that love is more forgiving that she ever dreamed.

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt The Chapel Wars
by Lindsey Leavitt

Sixteen year-old Holly inherits the pride of her grandfather’s heart: His very traditional wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. She’s determined to uphold her grandfather’s elegant standards and not devolve into a tacky circus of a chapel like the one next door. Then handsome Dax Cranston moves in with his grandfather, and life gets all confusing for Holly.

The Las Vegas setting is fun and vibrant. If you’ve been there, you’ll love the references to the ever-present Elvises and tourist traps. If you haven’t been there in person, here’s the next best thing!


When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

When I Was the Greatest   
by Jason Reynolds

If you’re looking for an urban adventure, here’s a book that’s set in one of the grittier Brooklyn neighborhoods. Narrator Ali lives there with his mom and little sister, and their neighbors, Noodles and Needles, are as close as family. The love is strong, even if the neighborhood threatens constant danger.

Needles has Tourette syndrome, which causes him to blurt out words uncontrollably. As Ali explains, “Not regular words like ‘run’ or ‘yo’ but crazy words like ‘buttface’ and ‘fat ass.’” Not good, when the tiniest insult can trigger off a violent reaction.

For a story of love and loyalty, check out Jason Reynolds’ heartwarming debut novel.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White

In the Shadows  
by Kiersten White, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

This unique book tells two connected stories. White’s textual narration introduces five teen characters. Arthur is a haunted, silent young man, who comes to stay at the Johnson’s boardinghouse after his mother dies. His past includes a terrible curse. Two Johnson daughters, coolly beautiful Cora and bright-eyed, adventurous Minnie, have no idea why Arthur is there, but he’s a guy, so…cool. Then brothers Thom and Charles show up. There is a mystery surrounding their father’s sudden decision to send them away, especially since Charles is dying.

Di Bartolo’s sequential art segments alternate with chapters of text. This story revolves around a young man who has a scar near his right eye (very helpful for spotting him) who seems to be both pursued and pursuing evil persons. The young man and the bad guys do not age. Both stories are satisfyingly eerie and suspenseful.

Books into Movies – Summer and Fall 2014

By , May 22, 2014

Gone Girl, Unbroken and Mockingjay are just a few of the books being made into movies this summer and fall. If you prefer to read the book before you see the film, here is your chance!


 The Fault in Our Stars    

Based on the young adult book by John Green

“Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.”

Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014



The Hundred Foot Journey

Based on the book by Richard C. Morais

“The Hundred-Foot Journey “is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages–charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.”

Movie Release Date: August 2014



Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 

Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller

“It’s one of those hot nights, dry and windless. The kind that makes people do sweaty, secret things. Dwight’s thinking of all the ways he’s screwed up and what he’d give for one clear chance to wipe the slate clean, to dig his way out of the numb gray hell that is his life. And he’d give anything. Just to cut loose. Just to feel the fire. One more time. And then Ava calls.”

Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014



Gone Girl

Based on the book by Gillian Flynn

“On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? “

Movie Release Date: Oct. 3, 2014



Mockingjay: Part 1               

Based on the young adult book by Suzanne Collins

“Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and it is up to Katniss to accept responsibility for countless lives and to change the course of the future of Panem.”

Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014



Based on the book Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

“On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared–Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor .”

Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014





Book List: Teens and Homelessness

By , May 20, 2014

Inspired by a recent issue of The Contributor (Volume 8, Issue 12, May 12-19, 2014) that featured a list of “Nine Must-Read Books on Homelessness,” here is a list of Young Adult novels about teens who experience homelessness.

Tyrell by Booth Coe

By Coe Booth

Tyrell is only fourteen years old, but he carries an adult-sized load of responsibility. His dad is in jail, and his mom plays the party girl. Thanks to her consistently irresponsible behavior, Tyrell and  his seven year old brother, Troy, stay with their mom at a homeless shelter. But as soon as their time at the shelter runs out, they will be sent to the roach-infested Bennet Motel. Tyrell needs money to take care of his family, though his legal options are few. There is one excellent skill that Tyrell learned from his father – and that’s how to DJ. It might just be the advantage Tyrell can use.


Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick0.

Sorta Like a Rock Star
By Matthew Quick

“Mom’s taste in men is akin to a crackhead’s taste in crack cocaine. Any old hit will do.” This is why Amber Appleton is living in a bus named Hello Yellow with her alcoholic mother and adorable dog. It’s cold out. Amber’s clothes are all stuffed in a trash bag. Things can only get worse, of course, and they do.

Quick’s debut novel is tartly humorous as he explores one girl’s odyssey of hope.


No Place by Todd Strasser

No Place  
By Todd Strasser

For Dan’s family, the slippery slope to homelessness began when his mother lost her stockbroker job five years earlier. Then his father loses his job, and they move out of the house to live with relatives. That temporary solution quickly pans out, and the family moves into a tent, joining a homeless community dubbed, “Dignityville.” Dignityville receives water, electricity, trash pick-up, and other kinds of support from the town. Some townsfolks are happy to help those down on their luck, while others are furious that their tax money goes to people too “lazy” to work. Strasser presents multiple aspects of homelessness and community response in the telling of Dan’s story.


Runaway by Wendy Van Draanen

By Wendy Van Draanen

Holly is only twelve years old, but she is living in her fifth foster home. It’s unbearable. When her foster father plunges her head in a toilet (think Sani-Flush), Holly knows it’s time to go. But this time, she’s not headed for another foster home. Holly takes to the streets, alone. It’s rough, and dangerous. Holly sleeps on the streets in the cold, and steals food to stay alive. Through it all, Holly just can’t forget her mother, whom she believes loved heroin more than she loved Holly. As Holly realizes how deeply she was hurt by this, she begins to take back control of her life.


Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Blink & Caution 
By Tim Wynne-Jones

Two teens, living on the streets of Toronto, meet on a train. Both of them are on the run. Blink has witnessed a terrorist crime, and now his knowledge of the players puts him in danger. Caution, living with a drug dealer nearly twice her age, has an intimate connection to the terrorists. At first, Caution sees Blink as someone to rob. But as the two become entangled in a blackmail scheme that thrusts them in mortal danger, something beautiful and unexpected grows between them.


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