Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial

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Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial

Simon & Schuster, 2006
  • Books for the Teen Age (New York Public Library)
  • Best Books for Young Adults Nominee (American Library Association)
  • Notable Children's Book Nominee (American Library Association)

When school lets out in sleepy Dayton, Tennessee, fifteen-year-old Frances Robinson has one thing on her mind—spending time with handsome schoolteacher Johnny Scopes. But when Frances’s father has Johnny arrested for teaching evolution, overnight Dayton becomes the center of the universe. Every bigwig, from Clarence Darrow to William Jennings Bryan to H.L. Mencken, is heading south. As the fire and brimstone heat up in court, Johnny begins to struggle. And Frances has never been more at odds with her father, or more in love with the teacher whose trial made the whole world stop and think.

Ronald Kidd brings to life a controversy that dates back to 1925 in a coming-of-age novel that evokes To Kill a Mockingbird and Inherit the Wind.

“Weaving a somber yet witty narrative around a pivotal event, this fast-paced drama is reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Kidd's personal relationship with account witnesses and his talent for storytelling create a unique and heartfelt story of a likable girl maturing through an unforgettable summer in American history. An excellent read and a wonderful piece of literature.”

School Library Journal (starred)

“Drawing incidents, dialogue, and all but a few minor members of the cast from the historical record, Kidd views the Scopes trial through the eyes of a teenaged local—weaving in a thoughtful coming-of-age tale in the process…. [Readers] will be pleased by the depth of character and ideas here.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred)