Kent State
Book cover
Author(s): Deborah Wiles
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Copyright Year: 2020
ISBN/ISSN: 9781338356281

Allison, Bill, Sandy, Jeffrey, the four students killed at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard almost 50 years ago, are made real again by author Deborah Wiles. This fast-paced novel-in-verse moves through conversations between the students, the townies, the National Guard, and the protesters. The dialogue reveals thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of all the people involved in this bleak moment in American history. Wiles reveals the thoughts of the young, inexperienced Guardsmen forced to fire on American citizens their own age, following orders as they had been trained. We learn of the townspeople totally bewildered at what was happening to their town, we hear of the students who were just trying to make their way across campus, we learn of the protesters there to stir the student body into protesting the war. The conversations in the book are ones that have been played out a million times since that day in 1970, but this short text invites the reader to sit down with the participants and learn their stories. Despite the fact that this is a somewhat difficult read, both for the subject matter and in the unique manner that Wiles uses to move the dialogue along (using varying fonts and type sizes to indicate the speaker), it is absolutely worth the trouble of deciphering the various points of view. This would be an excellent read for high school social studies or civics classes as it would engender some great discussion and inquiry questions. The text will help students see the parallels between the past and today and will hopefully drive home the idea that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Reviewer: Terry Roper, Library Consultant, Region 10 Education Service Center, Richardson, TX
Rating: Highly Recommended
Grade (as stated by Reviewer/SLC): 9-12
Review Date: May 1, 2020
Product Description
From two-time National Book Award finalist Deborah Wiles, a masterpiece exploration of one of the darkest moments in our history, when American troops killed four American students protesting the Vietnam War.

May 4, 1970.

Kent State University.

As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened and why.

Told in multiple voices from a number of vantage points -- protestor, Guardsman, townie, student -- Deborah Wiles's Kent State gives a moving, terrifying, galvanizing picture of what happened that weekend in Ohio . . . an event that, even 50 years later, still resonates deeply.
Media Type: Book, eBook
Binding: HC
# Pages: 144
Price: $18.99
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Novel in Verse
Entry ID: 2232126

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