The year is 1925, and the students of Dayton, Tennessee, are ready for a summer of fishing, swimming, some working, and drinking root beer floats at Robinson's Drugstore. But when their science teacher, J. T. Scopes, is arrested for having taught Darwin's theory of evolution in class, it seems it won't be just any ordinary summer in Dayton.As Scopes' trial proceeds, the small town is faced with astonishing, nationwide publicity: reporters, lawyers, scientists, religious leaders, and tourists. But amidst the circus-like atmosphere is a threatening sense of tension-not only in the courtroom, but among even the strongest of friends. This compelling novel in poems chronicles a controversy with a profound impact on science and culture in America-and one that continues to this day.
Jen Bryant teaches Children's Literature at West Chester University and lives in Pennsylvania.