It is the summer of 1964 in Hanging Moss, Mississippi and Glory is excited about having her 12th birthday party at the community pool. Then the community pool is closed for repairs, but there are no repairs needed. The adults in Glory’s life don’t want to explain what is going on, but she figures out that some people don’t want Blacks and Whites mixing in the pool and other places. It is Freedom Summer and there are Yankees in town putting people on edge. It is the summer that Glory learns more about the world and what it means to stand up for what is right.
I like the fact that Glory is clueless about the world. So often kids in books seem smarter and more aware than they really would be. She just seems like a regular girl who is worried about her birthday party and why her big sister doesn’t want to play with her anymore. She gradually becomes aware of what is going on, but it takes perseverance and a bit of sneakiness. I also liked that the book was pretty realistic in that there wasn’t a big change in attitudes in the community. People didn’t miraculous become more tolerant; they are just as prejudiced as before. But Glory is more aware and has firmly chosen a side in the Civil Rights Movement.