Kent State
An 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.

Kent State Details

TitleKent State
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 21st, 2020
PublisherScholastic Inc.
ISBN-139781338356281
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction, Poetry

Kent State Review

  • Rama
    January 1, 1970
    Dissent & DeathIn this book, the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard is narrated in a poetical form. This shooting during an antiwar demonstration resulted in the killing four students and wounding nine others. This historical event shook the conscious of people around the globe. The author uses her poetical skills to describe the history as a series of images, feelings, sounds, and experiences. Adopting a lyrical style helps the reader enter this moving and Dissent & DeathIn this book, the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970 by the Ohio National Guard is narrated in a poetical form. This shooting during an antiwar demonstration resulted in the killing four students and wounding nine others. This historical event shook the conscious of people around the globe. The author uses her poetical skills to describe the history as a series of images, feelings, sounds, and experiences. Adopting a lyrical style helps the reader enter this moving and powerful genre and puts into a different focus on a story that has been widely published. Author Deborah Wiles is known to write on children, community, historical events and social justice in her literary work. Recreating a story as powerful as John Filo's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller is certainly challenging. This is powerfully illustrated by narratives that is well researched. This experience moves your heart to tears for lives cut short, lives damaged, and the nation forever scarred. The author hopes that her work will articulate the devastating moment in the history, understand the landscape of the events that led to the tragedy.Several singers and song-writers narrated the shootings, one notable song was written by Neil Young, and sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Music and artistic presentations narrate a story more powerfully than written prose. This compact sized book of 132 pages makes an interesting read.
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  • Donalyn
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful, well-researched, and brilliantly written.
  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by EdelweissThis is a well-researched and interestingly written novel. I was looking forward to it because I was living in Kent on May 4, 1970 and have thought this topic was ripe for middle grade coverage. Sadly, this is more of a high school book. There are a few f-bombs, but it is the format that is really stopping me from buying it. It's told in short snippets from various view points, rather like a Greek chorus. Many view points are represented this way, and there are E ARC provided by EdelweissThis is a well-researched and interestingly written novel. I was looking forward to it because I was living in Kent on May 4, 1970 and have thought this topic was ripe for middle grade coverage. Sadly, this is more of a high school book. There are a few f-bombs, but it is the format that is really stopping me from buying it. It's told in short snippets from various view points, rather like a Greek chorus. Many view points are represented this way, and there are excellent notes at the beginning, but my students, who really know nothing about the event, will most likely struggle with understanding what is going on. Not all, of course, but it's gotten to the point where a lot of my students struggle with Matt Christopher. This would be a stretch. I would definitely buy this for a high school library, and have recommended it to our three high school librarians. In the current climate of political activism, it is an important book. If you have a middle school library, however, I would take a look at it. Wiles has done a lot of middle grade books, but don't purchase this one without investigating whether or not it is a good fit for your students.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    There are a lot of voices in this slim verse novel, and though the purpose of them is to exploit the chaos around the Kent State massacre, as a reader I found it extremely hard to tell who was who until deep into the final section. I think it effectively highlights the power of protest and youth protest in particular, but it never *quite* worked for me. It felt a little too superficial, especially as the author's note probably had as many words as the text itself. I wanted more.
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  • Darla
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story in verse with multiple viewpoints contributing to the conversation. It will be well worth revisiting in audio and could win some awards if the end product is as good as this title deserves. The cover is specatular, btw. In just a few weeks we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of this polarizing event. I was in preschool when it occurred and I can remember hearing the song "Ohio" by CSNY on the radio:"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,We're finally on our own.This summer I This is a story in verse with multiple viewpoints contributing to the conversation. It will be well worth revisiting in audio and could win some awards if the end product is as good as this title deserves. The cover is specatular, btw. In just a few weeks we will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of this polarizing event. I was in preschool when it occurred and I can remember hearing the song "Ohio" by CSNY on the radio:"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,We're finally on our own.This summer I hear the drumming,Four dead in Ohio"In her author notes, Deborah Wiles quotes Jeffrey Andrew Barash from his book "Collective Memory and the Historical Past":". . .we honor great tragedies by never forgetting, that our social cohesion as a human society depends on our storytelling. It depends on our remembering, passing on what we remember, saving it, and honoring it."Thank you to Deborah Wiles for bringing this story to our attention and sharing it with a new generation. Thank you to Scholastic, Inc. and Edelweiss for a DRC in exchange for an honest review. I am honored to have gotten an early look at this new release.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Intense, full-cast audio drama with music and sound effects. Stellar audiobook production. Although its a quick listen, less than 2 hours long, this is a listening experience I will never forget. Probably better for high school audiences than middle school; Id suggest grades 8+. Intense, full-cast audio drama with music and sound effects. Stellar audiobook production. Although it’s a quick listen, less than 2 hours long, this is a listening experience I will never forget. Probably better for high school audiences than middle school; I’d suggest grades 8+.
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  • Laura Gardner
    January 1, 1970
    5/5 for this slim (132 pages!), thought provoking novel in verse by Deborah Wiles. Thanks to @scholasticinc for the free copy of this book to share with @kidlitexchange! It comes out 4/21/20 right before the 50th anniversary of the #KentStateShooting. ...I love Deborah Wiles' books. They're certainly not for every student. They require some background knowledge (although the prelude and afterword help) and a willingness to delve deep into the past. For those students who take the plunge, 5/5 for this slim (132 pages!), thought provoking novel in verse by Deborah Wiles. Thanks to @scholasticinc for the free copy of this book to share with @kidlitexchange! It comes out 4/21/20 right before the 50th anniversary of the #KentStateShooting. ...I love Deborah Wiles' books. They're certainly not for every student. They require some background knowledge (although the prelude and afterword help) and a willingness to delve deep into the past. For those students who take the plunge, however, they are rewarded with a rich experience. I loved the Sixties Trilogy, but KENT STATE might be my new favorite by @deborahwiles_....Kent State starts with two voices addressing the reader in free verse -- "Make up your own mind./ Open your heart./ Here is what is most important:/ They did not have to die." More voices join in as the text goes on creating an argument over who was to blame and how the protests should have been handled. Each different voice is denoted by a different typeface; the disagreements between the disparate voices create additional tension that moves the story to the eventual death of four unarmed college students. "The campus was a war zone / and American students were the enemy." ...Wiles deftly explores race (Black students believed from the start that the soldiers were armed with real bullets), as well as connections to America's past and present. "Understand your history. / You lie / in order to get / what you want." Ultimately, this book is a call to action. "It has always been the young / who are our champions / of justice./ Who stand at the vanguard / of change."I can see this being used in the classroom in creative ways. It's definitely rich for discussion, but parts could be read aloud as readers theatre, as well. As usual, Wiles incorporates lyrics from songs at the time throughout the text in an effective way. I want someone to create a playlist to read with this book! Recommended for grades 7+....#middleschoollibrarian #middleschoollibrary #library #librarian #futurereadylibs #iteachlibrary #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #librariesofinstagram #librariansofinstagram #librariesfollowlibraries #librarylife #librarianlife #schoollibrarian #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #iteach #librarylove #booksbooksbooks #amreading #bibliophile #schoollibrariansrock #bookreview #bookrecommendation #igreads #malibrary #msla #mediaspecialist
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  • Richie Partington
    January 1, 1970
    Richies Picks: KENT STATE by Deborah Wiles, Scholastic Press, April 2020, 144p., ISBN: 978-1-338-35628-1What if you knew herAnd found her dead on the groundHow can you run when you know?Neil Young, Ohio (1970)[Mike] B.D. This is crazy. Why on earth do you want to go to Vietnam?[B.D] Im glad you asked. I made a list of the reasons why.[B.D.] I am going to Vietnam a) for Mom, b) for apple pie, and c) so that my roommate Mike can grow up strong and happy in a great land free of Communism and Richie’s Picks: KENT STATE by Deborah Wiles, Scholastic Press, April 2020, 144p., ISBN: 978-1-338-35628-1“What if you knew herAnd found her dead on the groundHow can you run when you know?”Neil Young, “Ohio” (1970)[Mike] “B.D. This is crazy. Why on earth do you want to go to Vietnam?”[B.D] “I’m glad you asked. I made a list of the reasons why.”[B.D.] “‘I am going to Vietnam a) for Mom, b) for apple pie, and c) so that my roommate Mike can grow up strong and happy in a great land free of Communism and tyranny.’”-- Doonesbury (2/1/72)“YOU ARE ALL NOTHINGBUTCOMMIE HIPPIE PINKOS!YOUR PARENTS WEREASHAMED OF YOU!They were not!We were patriots!We had the right to assemble.The right to protest.Our parents taught us this.They were auto workers,meat cutters, pipe fitters,truck drivers, teachers, nurses,stay-at-home moms.They taught us to love our country, too.YOU NEVER SHOWED ANYTHING BUT CONTEMPTFOR OUR COUNTRY!YOU HATE OUR COUNTRY!Our country hated us.”Four dead in Ohio. For me, the Kent State killings took place near the end of ninth grade. Until then, I’d been a concerned young observer, reading the news and soaking in the nightly news films of the fighting and the flag-draped coffins returning from Vietnam. Kent State contributed to my becoming a participant. It was the talk around school that month, and I took part in a number of so-called Teach-Ins that were organized on the front lawn of the campus. By the following school year, encouraged by a young teacher of draft age, I began to speak out. I joined schoolmates and parents and neighbors, riding a bus to our nation’s capital and participating in the National Peace Action Coalition’s massive April 24, 1971 March on Washington. Speakers at the rally that followed the march included Coretta Scott King and Ralph Albernathy; Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and Barbara Dane; John Kerry, Bella Abzug, Vance Hartke; and others.It was a pivotal time in what the Vietnamese dubbed “The American War.” It was a very big deal for me. And the flashpoint was Kent State.In advance of the 50th anniversary of the massacre, Deborah Wiles has created an amazing work of young people’s literature. I’m calling it a performance piece.“THEY SHOULD HAVE KILLED MORE OF YOU.”KENT STATE features numerous unnamed narrators describing and debating what happened during the days leading up to and including May 4, 1970 in Kent, Ohio. They also recount personal details about the lives and deaths of the four murdered students, Allison, Sandy, Jeffrey, and Bill. The unnamed narrators are each given a unique font and font size so we come to recognize them through that device. The narrators have varying perspectives and reactions that sometimes agree but are most often at odds with one another as they recall and characterize the events at Kent State. In addition to being a riveting read, KENT STATE is the perfect book for an informal English class read-aloud in which students each perform one of the many narrators in the book. It will also work well as a more formal production: performed in the studio for posting on YouTube; performed as a live radio play; or staged before an audience. I’m going to keep an eye on YouTube in the hope of eventually seeing this happen somewhere.And how does this relate to today’s young people? It’s all about the First Amendment and how far its protections extend. The protesters at Kent State believed that they were exercising their Constitutional rights: freedom of speech; freedom of assembly. These are the most precious of freedoms and it’s essential for each generation to protect them.Could Kent State happen again? Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.comhttps://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/[email protected]
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  • Laura Petrie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The Vietnam War was a turbulent and controversial period in our countrys history, and I have always been fascinated by the social implications it had on our culture at that time. I have poured over infamous photographs of protests and often tried to put myself into their shoes to gain a better understanding of their perspective. Kent State by Deborah Wiles is a young adult novel in verse that Thank you to the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The Vietnam War was a turbulent and controversial period in our country’s history, and I have always been fascinated by the social implications it had on our culture at that time. I have poured over infamous photographs of protests and often tried to put myself into their shoes to gain a better understanding of their perspective. Kent State by Deborah Wiles is a young adult novel in verse that zooms in on the happenings at Kent State University in Ohio in May of 1970. I studied the events of the Vietnam War extensively in high school, and I did not realize how little I knew about this tragic event that happened on the homefront. I had no idea about the involvement of the National Guard on Kent State campus or about the protests. Through the use of font style, size, and stanza positioning, and a unique style of writing, Wiles captures several different voices and perspectives to help her readers understand the full breadth of what happened over the course of 3 days. Wiles perfectly captures the wide range of emotions and opinions that come in the wake of tragedy. Every voice has an idea of where the blame should be placed, and from their perspective, it is easy to understand why. I loved how Wiles included the names and stories of the faces we see in these photos. By the end of this novel, we know a bit more about who they were and where they stood on the war. As in most tragedies, these people were in the wrong place at the wrong time. As is mentioned by the author in the afterward, their stories were not well known or acknowledged at the time. By reading this book, we are giving them a voice. This book challenged my thinking. Wiles did an excellent job conveying all of the different voices, and as a result, it was easy to recognize that all sides think they are in the right or the know. It also forced me to think about how we walk the line of dissenting against something we do not believe in and showing support toward our country. Due to language and the seriousness of the content, I think this is a better read for 8th grade and older. It is the perfect companion for any curriculum that covers the Vietnam War.
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  • Joyce Yattoni
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this up from the book fair, because I ❤ Deborah Wiles books. This historical fiction novel is about the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970. I was only a young girl when this happened. I remember seeing it on the news. The mood set in this book is very combative. It is a novel in verse and told in different perspectives of the people involved such as the National Guard, the college students, the townies. Wiles does a great job of going back and forth between the different perspectives. I picked this up from the book fair, because I ❤️ Deborah Wiles’ books. This historical fiction novel is about the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970. I was only a young girl when this happened. I remember seeing it on the news. The mood set in this book is very combative. It is a novel in verse and told in different perspectives of the people involved such as the National Guard, the college students, the townies. Wiles does a great job of going back and forth between the different perspectives. What I have taken from this historical account is that neither side to this day is willing to support the mistakes they made in leading up to the point of the shooting. It does, however, send the message to stand up to those people in power who continue to want too much of it. Difficult book for some, but if you like history and reading about how the government makes so many significant horrible decisions this is the book for you. Kent State is on the historical registrar. When I do my road trip out east, this will be a 🛑 on the way.
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  • Mary Lee
    January 1, 1970
    This is an amazing book that belongs in every high school library, every high school US History course, every HS American Lit course, every high school student's hands. It's greatest power is that it is told from multiple points of view represented by different fonts (not quite verse novel, not quite script). There can never be one single accounting of a moment in history and that was never more true than this one. This was an important, galvanizing moment for young people of that time to work This is an amazing book that belongs in every high school library, every high school US History course, every HS American Lit course, every high school student's hands. It's greatest power is that it is told from multiple points of view represented by different fonts (not quite verse novel, not quite script). There can never be one single accounting of a moment in history and that was never more true than this one. This was an important, galvanizing moment for young people of that time to work together and make changes. We can only hope this book will help this generation to do the same. This history of youth activism is one we definitely want to be repeated.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Kent State is structured like a novel in verse but its so much more than that. The varying perspectives are of collective voices and points of view, showing the reader just how difficult it was to get a consensus on what happened on that campus back in May of 1970. But even more important than that, Deborah Wiles circles it back around and points to how this moment in history still matters today and compels you, the reader, to be a vocal and participating citizen in our democracy. Put this book Kent State is structured like a novel in verse but it’s so much more than that. The varying perspectives are of collective voices and points of view, showing the reader just how difficult it was to get a consensus on what happened on that campus back in May of 1970. But even more important than that, Deborah Wiles circles it back around and points to how this moment in history still matters today and compels you, the reader, to be a vocal and participating citizen in our democracy. Put this book at the top of your TBR pile. I promise you won’t be able to put it down.
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  • Hope
    January 1, 1970
    The audiobook production of this is wild. Very visceral. The format kind of reminded me of Lincoln in the Bardo. It's multiple (dissenting) voices telling the story of what happened at Kent State, so you're sort of a fly on the wall as they hash out what happened based on their perspective. So because of that format, it made for a riveting audio listen (different narrators for all the voices made it easy to follow the arguments and points of view). Great, quick listen (under 2 hours).
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  • Chelsea Stringfield
    January 1, 1970
    Written in prose with a variety of different voices, this novel brings to light the events around the shooting at Kent State University. I devoured this in one sitting, but the searing imagery stayed with me for days. This is Deborah Wiles at her absolute best as she draws parallels between the fraught past and our fractured present.
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  • Michelle Glatt
    January 1, 1970
    This novel-in-verse was hard to listen to at times due to its brutally honest and emotionally raw recounting of the events of May 4, 1970.
  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the concept all of the voices tumbling over each other. But I found the strength to also be the weakness: all those tumbling voices accurately reflect the chaos of those few days in May, 1970, but make the whole narrative difficult to navigate, especially for teens who have limited background knowledge. I loved the concept— all of the voices tumbling over each other. But I found the strength to also be the weakness: all those tumbling voices accurately reflect the chaos of those few days in May, 1970, but make the whole narrative difficult to navigate, especially for teens who have limited background knowledge.
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  • Stephanie Bange
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed from an ARC. Note this review includes some spoilers.Told as a verse novel, Deborah Wiles distills her research to tell the powerful story of what happened on the Kent State University campus on May 1-4, 1970. By using many different voices who were witnesses and offering different points of view, readers will feel as if they are listening to conversations from ghosts of the past as they rehash the events leading up to the killings. Divided into 7 parts (including prelude, lament, and Reviewed from an ARC. Note this review includes some spoilers.Told as a verse novel, Deborah Wiles distills her research to tell the powerful story of what happened on the Kent State University campus on May 1-4, 1970. By using many different voices who were witnesses and offering different points of view, readers will feel as if they are listening to conversations from ghosts of the past as they rehash the events leading up to the killings. Divided into 7 parts (including prelude, lament, and elegy), Wiles sets the tone for each part by inserting a blank page with a brief line of lyric from anti-war songs being played on radio at the time of the shooting (with the exception of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On", which was released shortly after in 1971). In prelude, Wiles delivers the incredible statistics and reason behind the anti-war protests and why they escalated in further in the days preceding May 4th. lament sets up the format of the book as a conversation between two anonymous protesters looking back and reminiscing on the events leading up to May 4th. Starting on May 1st, other voices are added to the conversation. These voices are made unique by using different fonts and lettering styles. The student protesters on campus are left-justified, with one protester in a sans serif font, the second in italics, and a third (an African-American) in bold print. Right-justified voices include a city official in all caps, a second "townie" in a very small point font, and a National Guard soldier in a typewriter font.Wiles abruptly changes gears in the climax on May 4th. She makes it personal by using a wholly different font and centering the text, including places at key points for the reader to "Insert your name here." This brings the reader right into the middle of the action - they are immersed in the confusion of the day, yet feel the personalization of the victims. Free verse resumes later in this section, however the font remains the same throughout the chapter, mirroring the confusion as to who is remembering what about the day and how fuzzy our memories can be.In the denouement (elegy), Wiles returns to the original font settings for voices. She wisely points to relevant missteps along the way and the relevance of the Kent State killings to today, issuing a call to action on the part of the reader.Do not skip Wiles' extensive author notes at the end. She discusses how she approached writing this book, her choices, and encourages others to read and research for themselves. She includes titles she used as research sources and encourages readers titles to read.Since the 50th anniversary of the Kent State killings will occur on May 4th, 2020, there are bound to be many books published about the topic this year. This short fictional title is a "must read" for teens, along with Derf Backderf's graphic novel for adults "Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio", to be published by Abrams ComicArts in April. Be sure to listen to Crosby Stills Nash & Young's "Ohio" for an additional punch. Don't forget your box of tissues.Highly Recommended for grades 7-12. This would be an outstanding title to add to a unit on civil protests, First Amendment rights, and studies on the Vietnam War.
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written, powerfully moving account of the tragic events of May 4th, 1970 when 4 Kent State students were killed and 9 wounded by the National Guard during a campus rally. By writing it in verse, the author is able to put you into into the mindset of the students, townspeople, and National Guardsmen (although they are not the main focus) of the time. I loved the style of having multiple narrators, each depicted by a different typeface and by a unique placement on the page so This is a beautifully written, powerfully moving account of the tragic events of May 4th, 1970 when 4 Kent State students were killed and 9 wounded by the National Guard during a campus rally. By writing it in verse, the author is able to put you into into the mindset of the students, townspeople, and National Guardsmen (although they are not the main focus) of the time. I loved the style of having multiple narrators, each depicted by a different typeface and by a unique placement on the page so that you could easily tell who was saying what, even when their words overlapped as they argued intensely. This would lend itself very easily to being read aloud by students in classes studying the event, as a poem for many voices. Very powerful; also an excellent choice to have a narrative thread by members of Black United Students, to weave in the African American perspective (they were taught to always expect live ammunition when confronted by armed authorities, and many of them warned each other to stay away from the rally for that reason, something I hadn't known) and talk about how they had been protesting long before this against discrimination on campus. The nameless narrators describe their strong feelings, their optimism and their anger, their fear and their outrage, and Wiles manages to juggle many opposing points of view quite adroitly, giving a well-rounded view of the times and the fervor among students and townspeople as events transpired, including rumors and misinformation that was widely circulated at the time. The four students killed are described with affection, as if by someone who knew them well, and it is repeated that they did not have to die. The book wraps up by connecting what happened then to today, by telling readers that our rights of assembly and free speech must always be allowed to be exercised, and we must hold our government accountable; Wiles invites young readers to be a 'champion of justice.' The author's note at the end is well done, as Wiles talks about her thoughts and feelings trying to write about and honor the dead, to get it right by doing an incredible amount of research online and in person, visiting KSU's campus and the May 4 Visitor Center and Special Collections. She invites readers to do their own research, and to visit if they can, because you never truly get the feel for an event until you can stand on the ground where it happened. And KSU now has a great walking tour with audio as well as a new augmented reality tour and a Mapping May 4 app that help visitors experience the events. Terrific book and an excellent commemoration on the 50th anniversary. Recommended for any grade level where students are curious about or are studying the Vietnam War and social protest movements, campus unrest and Ohio history too. Maybe 6th grade and up? [There are a couple of f-bombs but they're part of the realistic nature of the story and I think you can't tell a first-person story of this nature without realistic language.]
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  • Cassidy
    January 1, 1970
    Advanced readers copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so thank you to Scholastic Canada for sending this book my way. It has always been the young who are our championsof justice.Who stand at the vanguard of change. Kent State, Deborah Wiles.What an important story this is. It is so easy for past tragedies to get lost in the background when so many new tragedies are being committed day after day. I am a person who reads predominantly for fun, but I have taken more Advanced readers copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, so thank you to Scholastic Canada for sending this book my way. “It has always been the young who are our championsof justice.Who stand at the vanguard of change.” Kent State, Deborah Wiles.What an important story this is. It is so easy for past tragedies to get lost in the background when so many new tragedies are being committed day after day. I am a person who reads predominantly for fun, but I have taken more action to read books that also offer education and not just a good time. This is one of those books, and it was not fun. On May 4th 2020, it will be the 50th anniversary of the Kent State tragedy where National Guard soldiers opened fire at a rally of students protesting the Vietnam War. I strongly encourage everyone to pick this book up when it is released on April 21st and read this heartbreaking but masterfully written story.Deborah Wiles wrote this book in verse, from multiple perspectives. I am a huge fan of authors who write stories in verse, as I feel it gives the story a higher sense of urgency and emotion while reading. This format offers the reader to see somewhat of a discussion between each viewpoint as events from May 1st – May 4th are recounted. For a long time, people did not know exactly what happened on May 4th to lead to the National Guard turning on its own citizens, and the different perspectives in this book really show how difficult it was to get a consensus on the events. Being able to read the different perspectives allows the reader to get a full sense of how scary this way. We hear from students, townspeople, nation guard soldiers, and a student from the Black United Students group. Each recounting is slightly different due to how each person remembers the events, which I thought was fascinating. I respect every author out there who incorporates social commentary into their work. It is so important for readers, especially youth, to understand that their voice matters and can make a change. The events at Kent State led to the change in voting age in the US (from 21 to 18) and a restructuring of the Draft. As a Canadian, we have our own issues with rising gun violence but it is truly horrifying to see the amount of mass shootings, particularly school shootings, happening frequently across the US. This book offers a heartbreaking insight into one of those shootings and reminds us how much change still needs to happen. To anyone who may be reading this that participates in protests for gun reform, thank you for using your voice to try to initiate change. But remember, if you’re protesting, be peaceful. And, if you’re an 18+ US citizen, please please please exercise your right to vote in the upcoming 2020 election.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I don't remember the first time I heard about Kent State, but by the time I was in college at Western Illinois University, I was writing an article about the 20th anniversary for our college newspaper. Since that time, I have always had an interest in the tragic event. For the last 19 years, I've lived in Ohio. I work with Kent State graduates. They sometimes talk about going to school there years after 5/4/70 and how it is still a part of the culture of the school. One of my coworkers found a I don't remember the first time I heard about Kent State, but by the time I was in college at Western Illinois University, I was writing an article about the 20th anniversary for our college newspaper. Since that time, I have always had an interest in the tragic event. For the last 19 years, I've lived in Ohio. I work with Kent State graduates. They sometimes talk about going to school there years after 5/4/70 and how it is still a part of the culture of the school. One of my coworkers found a 1970 Kent State yearbook at a garage sale and picked it up for 25 cents. Can you imagine such a find? He gave it to me and having a primary source like this, for someone like me who has been interested in the subject so long, it is a true treasure! When I saw that Deborah Wiles was writing a book about Kent State for younger readers, I was very excited. I tried so hard to get an ARC of the book because I just couldn't wait to read it! Unfortunately, I had to wait until it came out last week. The book is difficult to put into words. I am sure it was a hard book to write because there are so many voices and points of view. So many opinions. So many emotions. So much loss. So much hurt. Deborah chose to go into the challenge by giving voices an opportunity to speak through verse. Each day of the weekend, leading up to Monday, May 4th is given its one "chapter" if you will, in the book. That way, the reader can feel the emotion of every voice growing throughout the weekend until you get to that fateful day. When I am reading a book that captures a time in history, I always like to have my phone nearby. I like to look up exactly what is being referred to in the book, so I go to YouTube. When reading Wiles' Kent State, although I consider myself to be an "expert" on music from the 60s and 70s, I had never heard the song she used to give personality to Allison Krause ("Close to It All" by Melanie). And I needed to be reminded of Sandy's love of the song, "Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces. Listening to those songs on YouTube made me feel a connection with those young woman whom I would never have a chance to meet. What Wiles did here in this part of the book was to give personal details of the people that Jeff, Bill, Allison, and Sandy were long before their names became marked with sadness. While I am not sure that my students will embrace the format of verse in this story, I can understand why Wiles did it this way. Because of the language within the book, it wouldn't fit well in my elementary library. That was not the audience it was written for anyway. The Author's Note at the end of the book is a MUST READ! It is so important for the reader to spend time in those last pages of the book.
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  • Kate Waggoner
    January 1, 1970
    @KidlitexchangeThank you to @scholasticinc and @deborahwiles_ for sharing an advance copy of Kent State with the #KidLitExchange network. This book is set to be released April 21, 2020, immediately before the May 4th 50th Commemoration. All opinions are my own. There is so much packed into this slim, but powerful young adult historical fiction novel in verse. The story is told through multiple perspectives. It begins with two voices who address the reader using a free verse style. As the novel @KidlitexchangeThank you to @scholasticinc and @deborahwiles_ for sharing an advance copy of Kent State with the #KidLitExchange network. This book is set to be released April 21, 2020, immediately before the May 4th 50th Commemoration. All opinions are my own. There is so much packed into this slim, but powerful young adult historical fiction novel in verse. The story is told through multiple perspectives. It begins with two voices who address the reader using a free verse style. As the novel progresses, more perspectives/voices join in. The period of the Vietnam War was incredibly turbulent. It's also a period in time that doesn't really get covered in most K-12 history curriculum. I will admit that I had heard of Kent State, but I didn't have a full understanding of all that played into that night. Wiles understands that every story has an many truths as there were people present. She knew that in telling this story, she would need to present as many perspectives, histories, and stories as she could in order to give as much of the full picture as possible. The voices of the student body, African Americans, townspeople, and the National Guard are all included. She worked with collective memory and weaved in faulty memories as well as opinion to bring the story to life and add authenticity. I found this book to be incredibly powerful and poignant. Considering our current political climate, it is important for younger readers to be aware of historical events like Kent State. I also like that Wiles doesn't tell the reader what to do with the information she has presented. In the final pages of the book, the speakers urge the reader to be good citizens, to be informed, to stand up for what is right. These are all incredibly important messages. The reader is urged to work for change so something like this does not occur again. I loved the messages and the way this story is told. I found it to very engaging and the multiple perspectives and arguing evoked emotion and confusion similar to those that would have been experienced during the actual events. While this book is incredibly well researched, many readers most likely won't have background knowledge about the topic. Because of this, I believe younger readers (say middle school age and even some high school students) will struggle with fully grasping the complexity and weight of this story. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and found it to be a thought provoking story that needs to be shared.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Kent State retells the story of the events surrounding the infamous clash between student demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War and the National Guard at Kent State in Ohio. The time periods complex history still evokes visceral responses from people to this day, and Deborah Wiles retelling through verse does the same. Wiles weaves multiple narratives together using conversational and sometimes confrontational voices told from the perspective of participants and observers of the Kent State Kent State retells the story of the events surrounding the infamous clash between student demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War and the National Guard at Kent State in Ohio. The time period’s complex history still evokes visceral responses from people to this day, and Deborah Wiles’ retelling through verse does the same. Wiles weaves multiple narratives together using conversational and sometimes confrontational voices told from the perspective of participants and observers of the Kent State shootings. Although chaotic at times, the story’s structure reflects the uncertainty around these events in Kent, Ohio. It also reveals the range of deeply held beliefs about the Vietnam War and United States’ culture that contributed to the intense emotions during that period. The skillful blending of myriad perspectives with comprehensive research creates a realistic portrayal of this event. Critically, like the period itself, it also creates dissonance, leaving readers with challenging questions about culture, protest, and ideals still worth considering today.Kent State reinforces the fact that personal histories offer compelling versions of reality. In fact, the truths they tell are often more resonant. However, they also have their limitations. Whose history gets told? How does this history get told? What motivations underpin the answers to these questions? Wiles does a fantastic job starting the conversation as it pertains to the United States during the Vietnam War Era, but she is unable to sustain it as far as might have been possible. Kent State would be a provocative and important novel to include in a larger study of the Vietnam War, potentially with multiple novels, but it would be difficult to teach on its own due to the background knowledge needed to understand the books’ many facets and contextual references. Nevertheless, Wiles’ work represents a part of the history of the Vietnam War Era that is worth telling and remembering, much like the many voices in the book itself. High school teachers will undoubtedly find value in Kent State’s complexities, especially when pairing it with other works about this fraught time period.Thank you to Edelweiss+ and publisher, Scholastic Inc., for an eARC of this book!
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced copy of this from Edelweiss.So I've been mystified by Kent State and the events surrounding it for some time. It's your basic questions, though: why did a group of National Guardsmen fire onto a crowd of unarmed students? It's the question that will never truly be answered. But it made me interested in seeing what this book had to say. (Note: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the shooting.)I find that with serious topics like this, books told in verse tend to hit the I received an advanced copy of this from Edelweiss.So I've been mystified by Kent State and the events surrounding it for some time. It's your basic questions, though: why did a group of National Guardsmen fire onto a crowd of unarmed students? It's the question that will never truly be answered. But it made me interested in seeing what this book had to say. (Note: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the shooting.)I find that with serious topics like this, books told in verse tend to hit the emotions better. But the problem I had (and this might be because maybe Kindle changed the format somewhat?) was that there are a lot of people talking and I could barely tell them apart. I was only 100% positive about two out of roughly 6 (according to my count) narrators. The others tended to blend together and it was never explicit who they actually were. Perhaps the printed version will be easier to follow, but this was a mess for me. You can only tell them apart by things like italics, ALL CAPS WRITING, one in a different color, one that doesn't use any capitalize letters, and two that honestly looked normal and I have no idea what the difference was.However, the subject matter and application of different voices was well done. There were lots of survivors with lots of different perspectives. These voices cover anything from protesting students, non-protesting students, citizens of Kent, a Guardsman, and a Black student. Some thought the Guardsmen were the monsters; some thought it was the students. Seeing that really brings home how divisive the times were. It also tells the story in a slightly unreliable way because the "witnesses" tend to contradict each other a little, which is what actually happens when people recount an event.Obviously the meat and potatoes of the book is May 4 itself. For that section, I thought the reality of what happened was emotional, devastating, and still factual. Oh, and maybe keep this away from younger readers? It doesn't shy away from details about how exactly people died.It's an important read and it's definitely a story that still needs to be told.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.Actual rating: 3.5 out of 5. And, to be honest, at times, I thought about rating it higher. But in the end, some of my "cons" outweighed my pros and I just couldn't go with the 4 stars. I wanted to, really I did, but I just couldn't.So, what was it about this book that I struggled with? Mainly the fact that it is a book designed for middle school and high school students Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.Actual rating: 3.5 out of 5. And, to be honest, at times, I thought about rating it higher. But in the end, some of my "cons" outweighed my pros and I just couldn't go with the 4 stars. I wanted to, really I did, but I just couldn't.So, what was it about this book that I struggled with? Mainly the fact that it is a book designed for middle school and high school students (it's published by Scholastic), but is written in a way that will lead to confusion. ***Please note, some of this might be different in a print version of the book, but my copy as an eBook is what I am referencing.*** The book uses MULTIPLE viewpoints to talk about the timeline and the events at Kent State. While this leads to a more whole and complete look at the day, it also makes it very hard to get a clear narrative. Of course, this is part of Wiles' point-she wants the reader to understand that it was chaotic, there were no clear answers, and to this day there is a sense of controversy. BUT, for a reader who will have little to no context for this event, the multiple viewpoints WITHOUT clear distinguishing factors-my copy had NO LABELS for them, only different fonts-means it can get easy to become lost in the stories and not in a good way. The highlights of this book: the author's note at the beginning, the attempts to reconcile the idea of peaceful protests and multiple views from the 60s with contemporary issues today, the description of May 4th. These were incredible. But my issues with the above outweighed how great they were. Right now, my main thought is that this would be an excellent book study book or something for teachers to have in their classrooms. For those students who are merely looking for historical fiction, this might not hit the mark.
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    Two-time National Book Award finalist Wiles takes a deep look at the Kent State shooting in 1970. Using oral histories and articles from the incident, Wiles writes a searing book that looks at the various viewpoints at play in 1970 in Kent, Ohio and the nation. Beginning a few days before the shooting, Wiles sets the stage and captures the tensions between the town, the college, and the National Guard. As the tragedy looms, the horror of the moment grows. Still, when the shooting happens in the Two-time National Book Award finalist Wiles takes a deep look at the Kent State shooting in 1970. Using oral histories and articles from the incident, Wiles writes a searing book that looks at the various viewpoints at play in 1970 in Kent, Ohio and the nation. Beginning a few days before the shooting, Wiles sets the stage and captures the tensions between the town, the college, and the National Guard. As the tragedy looms, the horror of the moment grows. Still, when the shooting happens in the book, though one knows what is about to occur, it is written with so much empathy that it is almost like learning about it for the first time.Brace yourself for this one. Wiles doesn’t pull any punches here. She allows all of the voices to speak, almost a chorus of the times, speaking about the draft, the Vietnam War, the incredible pressures on college students, the attitudes of the town, and the expectations for the National Guard. Her writing is a dramatic mixture of poetic verse, social justice, historical quotes, and passion.It is great to see Wiles also entwine the voices of Black students into her story. So often forgotten or assumed to be included, they speak with a clarion voice here, insisting on being heard. Even more importantly, their perspective draws a clear line between what happened in history and the shootings of Black Americans happening today.Incredible writing and strong historical research make this much more than regular historical fiction. Appropriate for ages 13-18.
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  • Cheryl A
    January 1, 1970
    In this slim but powerful volume, author Deborah Wiles has issued an invitation to us all to not only remember the events at Kent State, but to have a dialogue on power, perception and protest. Told in free verse in multiple voices (students, activists, townspeople, guardsmen), the author presents the collective thoughts, feelings and attitudes of those who were involved in the events on the campus of Kent State at the height of the Vietnam War. The confusion, the anxiety, the anger, the sadness In this slim but powerful volume, author Deborah Wiles has issued an invitation to us all to not only remember the events at Kent State, but to have a dialogue on power, perception and protest. Told in free verse in multiple voices (students, activists, townspeople, guardsmen), the author presents the collective thoughts, feelings and attitudes of those who were involved in the events on the campus of Kent State at the height of the Vietnam War. The confusion, the anxiety, the anger, the sadness of those involved is captured in the fictional "characters" narrating the volume. Although slightly confusing at the beginning, as the dialogue continues, we hear the emotions and concerns that drive each of the viewpoints of the different groups involved in this horrific event that still shapes our collective memories. For young readers whose collective memories are shaped by Parkland, Pulse, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Dakota Pipeline Access, Global Climate Strike and so many more events, this reflection on the past will give them a deeper understanding of and reinforce the commitment of what they are fighting to change. Highly recommended for all readers, regardless of age or viewpoint.Thank you to Edelweiss for the advance E copy.
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  • Laura Trombley
    January 1, 1970
    This short book is absolutely amazing. It is a dialogue between all of the different "sides" that day that tragedy came to Kent State, that America killed its own children. Each voice has a distinctive font and the book flows very nicely although I had my doubts at first. I was ugly crying by the end. It made me want to go to, and maybe you don't know this, I want to go to the 24 hour vigil still held yearly at Kent State on May 4 to remember what happened, to feel the lose of four beautiful This short book is absolutely amazing. It is a dialogue between all of the different "sides" that day that tragedy came to Kent State, that America killed its own children. Each voice has a distinctive font and the book flows very nicely although I had my doubts at first. I was ugly crying by the end. It made me want to go to, and maybe you don't know this, I want to go to the 24 hour vigil still held yearly at Kent State on May 4 to remember what happened, to feel the lose of four beautiful young lives. History is always written by the winners, but there were none that day. This book, the annual memorial vigil are an excellent way for us to never forget, that Nixon went into Cambodia and killed people without declaring war, that our country was drafting everybody whether or not they were still in college to go die in the jungles of Vietnam for what cause exactly?, that when children spoke up the response wasn't dialogue, the response was the National Guard, the response was to shoot at people. The response was 4 dead young people. We have to remember. It could happen again.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I had not idea when I first heard of this book that it was told in multiple points of view using verse. I saw the title and author and I knew it would be a compelling story but the format made it powerful! I could picture the different people yelling back and forth with the belief that their point of view was the correct one. And including the POV of a guardsman and a townie was absolutely brilliant. Some other reviews have mentioned this seemed superficial but I think in the heat of an I had not idea when I first heard of this book that it was told in multiple points of view using verse. I saw the title and author and I knew it would be a compelling story but the format made it powerful! I could picture the different people yelling back and forth with the belief that their point of view was the correct one. And including the POV of a guardsman and a townie was absolutely brilliant. Some other reviews have mentioned this seemed superficial but I think in the heat of an emotional battle this is exactly the way opinions are expressed. Passion trumps reason and well thought out arguments. The author notes also addresses this because there was a lot of misinformation, faulty memories, and rumors that impacted what happened on May 4, 1970 at Kent State. I recommend this to anyone high school and up as a great introduction to the killings that occurred on the campus of Kent State on May 4, 1970. I hope this book sparks your interest to learn more and form your own opinion.Thank you Deborah Wiles for writing Kent State!
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  • Karen Gedeon
    January 1, 1970
    Kent State by Deborah Wiles a short but incredibly profound historic narration of the events of May 4, 1970 as they unfolded on the campus of Kent State University. Wiles expertly tells the story through a conversation of multiple persons each displayed as a different font so readers can experience both emotion (anger large, all caps, afraid small, all lower case etc.) as well as their side of the story. Many personal opinions of the 1970s are included through these conversations, some of Kent State by Deborah Wiles – a short but incredibly profound historic narration of the events of May 4, 1970 as they unfolded on the campus of Kent State University. Wiles expertly tells the story through a conversation of multiple persons each displayed as a different font so readers can experience both emotion (anger – large, all caps, afraid – small, all lower case etc.) as well as their side of the story. Many personal opinions of the 1970’s are included through these conversations, some of which are not normally discussed. While it will take a little for readers to get the hang of how to read this book, they will gain more than they can imagine. This book is broken into chapters based on the day of the shootings as well as those leading up to it (May 1st – May 4th). A detailed author’s note is included which teaches readers how to ask research questions and how to interpret their results. More details of the event as well as the memorial on campus are included.
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  • Tianjun Shen
    January 1, 1970
    A poetic expression of the chronicle of May 4, 1970. It gives a unique and personal lens of the story as it was told. I went to Kent State for my graduate studies. Reading this relatively short book made me reflect and recollect what I had known of May 4.In the notes section, the author wrote:"What would have happened if we had not, as a nation, dearly loved our myths and the biased and distorted misinformation from powerful vested interests, and had instead investigated facts ourselves, found A poetic expression of the chronicle of May 4, 1970. It gives a unique and personal lens of the story as it was told. I went to Kent State for my graduate studies. Reading this relatively short book made me reflect and recollect what I had known of May 4.In the notes section, the author wrote:"What would have happened if we had not, as a nation, dearly loved our myths and the biased and distorted misinformation from powerful vested interests, and had instead investigated facts ourselves, found alternate news sources, and listened to the young whose lives were on the line every day?""We can make decisions to be informed as citizens, not accepting what we hear or see or read until we've dug deeper on our own, for context, for truth. We can listen. We can share. We can make commitments to the tenets of democracy that say we have freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition in our public places."Thus, the importance of understanding the history of May 4, 1970.
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