SUMMER BATTLES by Ann R. Blakeslee


Age Range: 9 - 12
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In the summer of 1926, 11-year-old Kath spends three weeks in Peaceable, Indiana, which is anything but. Kath and her little sister Posy are staying with their grandfather, a minister sent to keep errant congregations in line. Grando has his hands full, too, because the Ku Klux Klan is active in Peaceable, and their target is Serena, Grando’s black cook. Kath is small for her age and willful, resenting that her parents have gone off on vacation with her older brother and sent her to Grando. But she loves his uncompromising ways, and she loves Serena, who sings and cooks like an angel. The townsfolk are soon divided in loyalties: the librarian—who also teaches music to the girls and their piano-loving neighbor Junior—and the shopkeeper and her daughter, who insult Serena when she comes to shop. The good folk are very good in this tale, and the bad ones very bad; while the language is careful and occasionally rich, the predictable story leads to a terrifying confrontation with the Klan, in which Kath plays a key part in saving Grando from real harm. The Klan leader, revealed in the end to be female, doesn’t quite ring true, either. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7614-5064-5
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000