Written by Jonathan Zimmerman, with cartoons by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Signe Wilkinson.
Across the political spectrum, Americans have demanded the suppression of ideas and images that allegedly threaten our nation. But the biggest danger to America comes not from speech but from censorship, which prevents us from freely governing ourselves.
In this brief but bracing book, historian Jonathan Zimmerman and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Signe Wilkinson tell the story of free speech in America: who established it, who has denounced it, and who has risen to its defense.
Sophomore Cole Renner knows teamwork inside and out from running cross-country at his multi-ethnic Chicago public school. He knows about
braving the elements and not getting passed in the chute. What Cole doesn’t know is how much he’ll need all of his mental and physical skills when the heavy doors of Cook County Jail slam shut on his father, a community activist; when his English teacher catches Cole tagging the school with the F word and sentences him to write two poems a week, each on a word that starts with F; when his best friend Felipe Ramirez runs for class president against the girl who dumped him; and when the school bully prowls the halls looking for Cole and the principal seems more interested in punishing Cole than the bully. As much as Cole wants to win meets, what he wants even more is justice—for his father, for himself, for Felipe, and for his fellow students. Cole learns that actions matter, but so do words. He takes his write words (in both Spanish and English) and turns them into the right words to fight for justice.