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Harlem Summer by Walter Dean Myers
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Harlem Summer (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Walter Dean Myers

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112None107,056 (3.97)5
Member:RiverTeens
Title:Harlem Summer
Authors:Walter Dean Myers
Info:Scholastic Press (2007), Hardcover, 176 pages
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Harlem Summer by Walter Dean Myers (2007)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
MSBA Nominee 2009-2010

I'm not sure there is going to be a way for me to review this book. I know my reviews tend to skew towards personal entries and my feelings, but I don't think there will be any way for me to do that. This book reminds me of my strong anti-war feelings during polisci my senior year of high school, which my teacher laughed at, and how I feel like I should be laughing now, but I can't because I'm too sad. And how in April of 2003 Bush declared our Mission Accomplished. Six years later, we're still there, and I'm pretty sure the mission was not accomplished. And I'm sitting here listening to this story about people my age (at the time) over there, and what they are thinking and what information they were given, and if it is indeed close to what they actually received, then I feel like we were doomed from the start. Maybe I'll be able to write more effectively later.

It's now later, and I don't think I can write any more effectively about this book. ( )
  scote23 | Dec 26, 2013 |
MSBA Nominee 2009-2010

I'm not sure there is going to be a way for me to review this book. I know my reviews tend to skew towards personal entries and my feelings, but I don't think there will be any way for me to do that. This book reminds me of my strong anti-war feelings during polisci my senior year of high school, which my teacher laughed at, and how I feel like I should be laughing now, but I can't because I'm too sad. And how in April of 2003 Bush declared our Mission Accomplished. Six years later, we're still there, and I'm pretty sure the mission was not accomplished. And I'm sitting here listening to this story about people my age (at the time) over there, and what they are thinking and what information they were given, and if it is indeed close to what they actually received, then I feel like we were doomed from the start. Maybe I'll be able to write more effectively later.

It's now later, and I don't think I can write any more effectively about this book. ( )
  scote23 | Mar 30, 2013 |
HARLEM SUMMER is a wonderful book that pairs historical fiction with the day-to-day struggles of a teenager trying to find his place in life. Mark's character has a universal appeal, and his voice is genuine and humorous. At the end of the book there are brief biographical sketches and photos of many of the famous people who find their way in the story. Walter Dean Myers has written a funny and engaging tale that reminds us that all of our decisions have consequences and that life on the shady side of the street isn't always what it is cracked up to be. ( )
  gjchauvin504 | Nov 21, 2012 |
Bootleggers. Harlem. Summertime. Jazz music. These elements and more add to this narrative told in the humorous voice of a sixteen year old who learns the consequences of his decisions. This adventure takes place in the surroundings of the Harlem Renaissance with memorable characters such as Langston Hughes. This story would serve as a wonderful precursor to the study of Harlem Renaissance poetry. Also, the pictures in the back of the book could serve as a springboard to research/presentation projects.
  TheVeaz | Jul 9, 2012 |
Reviewed by Christian C. for TeensReadToo.com

It's the summer of 1925 in Harlem, a summer that sixteen-year-old Mark Purvis will never forget. In just a months time, Mark will get to meet the best and the worst people of New York City.

Mark gets a job at The Crisis, a magazine that promotes and encourages "New Negroes." The magazine was part of a movement created during that time with a mission to discover talented persons of color -- poets, novelists, and musicians -- and show them to the world.

But Mark is not so sure that he wants to become a "New Negro." What he really wants to do is become a famous jazz player and play the saxophone with his band. So when "Fats," a well known piano player who made records, offers him and his friend, Henry, what sounds like an "innocent" job loading trucks in New Jersey, Mark and Henry don't think twice. This could be the opportunity they were looking for, their big break, a golden chance to be with "Fats" and tell him all about their jazz band. Maybe he could even help them get a record deal.

What Mark didn't know is that the job was actually for the most dangerous man and leading bootlegger, Dutch Schultz. And Mark didn't know that what they helped load was illegal alcohol, and that the truck driver was going to drive away, all of a sudden, with the merchandise. And now Dutch Schultz wants his money back, and he wants Mark and Henry to pay for it.

Will Mark get the money for Dutch Shultz? Will Mark become a "New Negro?" Will he be able to keep his job at The Crisis? Or will Mark end up traveling the wrong path? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Every single word in Walter Dean Myers' book flows effortlessly in this entertaining novel. He makes writing look easy.

HARLEM SUMMERS is a book that will strike a chord with all readers. Parents will love the lack of cursing and sex often seen in young adult literature. (Although, to be honest, I think that the author could have used some more cursing to make the dialogue sound a little more realistic.) Teachers and librarians will LOVE this novel that complements perfectly what we studied in 8th-grade social studies. I'm sure that this book will soon be part of many recommended summer reading lists. nd teens will love the story, because after all... who wouldn't want to meet the head of a notorious gang?!

The end of the book contains a section with biographical information of real individuals that appear in the book and lived in New York City during that period, like Alfred Knopf, Langston Hughes, "Bumby" Johnson, and others. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 043936843X, Hardcover)

Myers is at his clever best in this witty and action-packed, coming-of-age story of a teenager's summer during the Harlem Renaissance and his run-ins with famous gangsters, writers, and musicians.

It's 1925 and Mark Purvis is a 16-yr-old with a summer to kill. He'd rather jam with his jazz band (they need the practice), but is urged by his parents to get a job. As an assistant at The Crisis, a magazine for the "new Negro," Mark rubs shoulders with Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen. He's invited to a party at Alfred Knopf's place. He's making money, but not enough, and when piano player Fats Waller entices him and his buddies to make some fast cash, Mark finds himself crossing the gangster Dutch Schultz.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In 1920s Harlem, sixteen-year-old Mark Purvis, an aspiring jazz saxophonist, gets a summer job as an errand boy for the publishers of the groundbreaking African American magazine, "The Crisis," but soon finds himself on the enemy list of mobster Dutch Shultz. Includes real photos of people and places of Harlem in the 1920s.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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