A Mississippi town in 1964 gets riled when tempers flare at the segregated public pool.
As much as Gloriana June Hemphill, or Glory as everyone knows her, wants to turn twelve, there are times when Glory wishes she could turn back the clock a year. Jesslyn, her sister and former confidante, no longer has the time of day for her now that she’ll be entering high school. Then there’s her best friend, Frankie. Things have always been so easy with Frankie, and now suddenly they aren’t. Maybe it’s the new girl from the North that’s got everyone out of sorts. Or maybe it’s the debate about whether or not the town should keep the segregated public pool open.
Augusta Scattergood has drawn on real-life events to create a memorable novel about family, friendship, and choices that aren’t always easy.
NPR Weekend Edition, Jan 7, 2012: Scott Simon interviews Augusta.
Here's an interview with Augusta: click to listen.
Awards and Recognition
Amazon's Top Twenty Middle Grade Books of 2012
Children's Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book
SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, Southeast Region
Children's Choice Awards list: Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont
“Each year, Gloriana Hemphill celebrates her Fourth of July birthday at the community pool. But the summer before her twelfth birthday, in 1964, Hanging Moss, Mississippi, is in turmoil, and that turmoil reaches right into Glory’s life. Yankee “freedom people” have infiltrated the town, rousing rabble and insisting the white-only pool be desegregated. The town council, in response, has closed the pool “for repairs,” indefinitely. And so Glory’s summer, once a promise of happy tradition, is now fraught with unwanted change. First-time novelist Scattergood has a deft hand with characterization, fully realizing the supporting players, from Frankie, Glory’s best friend and son of the bigoted town council chief, to Jesslyn, her teenaged older sister, to Laura, a girl visiting from Ohio while her mother sets up a free clinic. In Glory herself, tilting on the threshold of adolescence, Scattergood paints a balanced portrait of childlike self interest and awakening integrity. This moving, intimate look at America’s struggle for civil rights, as seen through the narrow lens of one growing girl, will spark interesting discussion.”
“The hot summer of 1964 in Hanging Moss, Miss., is the setting for Scattergood’s modest debut, featuring high-spirited Glory, who is looking forward to celebrating her 12th birthday on the Fourth of July with her traditional party at the town pool. But the civil rights movement is sprouting throughout the South, and a group of Freedom Workers has arrived in Hanging Moss, causing consternation among many townspeople and resulting in actions that dismay Glory—like the closing of the segregated pool. Scattergood divides the characters a little too neatly into the good guys (Glory’s preacher father and her sister, Jesslyn; their loyal housekeeper, Emma; and the town librarian) and the bad guys (the high school football star; his town councilman father; and prejudiced busybody Mrs. Simpson), but she aptly portrays Glory’s emotional confusion as she struggles to understand and cope with the turmoil. Also well done is the changing relationship between Glory and Jesslyn, as well as her roller-coaster friendship with her best buddy, Frankie. Scattergood’s effective snapshot of the fight against segregation, one town at a time, makes personal the tumultuous atmosphere of the times.”
“Glory Be is a lovely debut novel for younger readers, akin to Kathryn Stockett's The Help—an important read that raises powerful racial issues of the 1960s American South.”
“Glory Be weaves a seamless story of sisterly love, broken friendships, and the strength that it takes to stand up for the right thing. Augusta Scattergood is at the top of my debut-authors-to-watch list.”