Written by Deborah Wiles
Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue
Two boys—one black, one white—are best friends in the segregated 1960s South in this picture book about friends sticking together through thick and thin.
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.
Very Good: Possible minor wear and tear on cover, pages, and/or spine; may include name, stamp, or label on inside cover (no writing within text itself)