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A Summer of Kings

by Han Nolan


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This novel of a turbulent bond between a black teenager and a sheltered white girl in the Civil Rights era is a "powerful mix of triumph and tragedy" (School Library Journal).

It's 1963 and fourteen-year-old Esther Young is tired of feeling like a boring misfit in her well-off New York family full of talented artistic types. She wants this summer to be life-changing—and it will be.

King-Roy Johnson shows up on Esther's doorstep that summer. He's been sent north by his mother to escape a lynch mob after he was accused of murder in Alabama, and is taken in by Esther's family. Feeling betrayed by the nonviolent philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr., King-Roy meets a follower of Malcolm X who uses radical teachings about black revolution to fuel King-Roy's anger and frustration. Esther, meanwhile, becomes more drawn to Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi. With each other's help, both Esther and King-Roy must learn the true nature of integrity and find the power to stand up for what's right.

From a National Book Award–winning author of Dancing on the Edge, this novel, by turns funny and poignant, "not only opens a window to history, but also displays Nolan's brilliant gift for crafting profoundly appealing protagonists" (School Library Journal).

Publication Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:


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Han Nolan (Author)

HAN NOLAN is the author of six previous highly acclaimed novels published by Harcourt.

More about Han Nolan
A Summer of Kings
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