- Julie Albright
- Joyce Albright
- Daniel Albright
- Tracy Albright
- Ivy Ling
- Joseph Sanchez
- The Water Fountain Girls
Only in Changes for Julie
Chapter by Chapter Summary
Chapter One: Detention
Julie gets detention for passing a note to Joy, who is deaf and doesn't know what is going on. In detention, Julie and Joy must write sentences over and over describing the offense. As the girls are in detention for passing notes and speaking out of turn to explain the situation, they have to write "I will not pass notes in class" and "I will not talk back to the teacher". After detention, the girls decide that detention is a waste and that they don't learn anything from writing sentences for an hour. The girls run into Stinger, a boy who often ends up in detention, and he calls them part of the Detention Club now before they leave. On the way home, Joy wonders why they can't do homework in detention, and Julie remarks that it's probably not a punishment, though she believes they could do something useful, like cleaning, instead of writing sentences. Joy responds that Julie should be principal before the two head to their separate houses.
At home, Julie talks to Tracy about detention. Tracy says that in high school, she thinks they have to sit and be quiet, but they can do their homework, and Julie decides that that isn't fair. The two sit down to watch Little House on the Prarie and argue kindheartedly about nachos Julie has made, which Tracy keeps trying to take from. Tracy remarks that there isn't any sound coming from the television, and Julie responds that she wants to know what it is like to read lips.
Chapter Two: Poster Power
The next day, the students are learning about the upcoming presidential election. Julie asks if they will be voting for anything, and the teacher remarks that student body president elections are coming up. Later, when Julie, Joy, and T.J. are walking to Art, they see posters for the student president candidate, Mark Salisbury, a sixth grader and the most popular kid in school. Julie wants to run against him, but T.J. says only sixth graders are allowed to run. Julie and Joy then go to ask the principal, who says they have every right to run and hopes it will be a learning experience for them.
After school, Julie, Joy, and Ivy meet at Julie's house to make posters. Julie and Joy put them up the next day, but T.J. is skeptical. During lunch, he tells the girls to come with him, and they follow him to find their posters vandalized, with words like "Joy" changed to "Joke" and mustaches drawn on the girls' pictures. The girls are downhearted, but they think they can salvage the posters. The group agrees to skip recess to fix the posters, and T.J. decides to become their campaign manager.
Chapter Three: Julie for President
Julie arrives to school early and heads to the auditorium to test the equipment before the assembly where she will make her campaign speech. She stands at the podium and thinks of how the students will love her ideas when she hears the Water Fountain Girls on the other side of the curtain. The girls are speaking excitedly about how Mark has asked them to hang one of his posters, as well as his campaign promises. They begin to talk about Julie and how she doesn't stand a chance because her running mate is deaf just as Joy walks up behind Julie. Julie urges her to be quiet, and after the girls leave, Joy catches on that they were talking about her. Joy says that she knows the girls do not like her because she is deaf.
When Julie gets to class, she realizes she no longer has her note cards for her speech. Julie runs back to the auditorium to find them, but they are nowhere to be seen. Julie returns to the classroom and finds she cannot pay attention in her nervousness. When the class finally gets up to head to the speech, Joy tells her that she knows Julie knows the speech by heart and she'll do fine. The speeches start, and Mark goes first. He gets many cheers from the school and gives a speech declaring that he'll get pizza for Friday lunches, which develops into a chant. On his way back to his seat, he mumbles a question to Julie, asking if she forgot her note cards. Julie stands at the podium and finds that giving her speech is harder than she thought. She talks about changing the school's detention system, and the only students who respond are the bad kids like Stinger.
When Julie arrives home, she talks to her family about how the speeches went, and her mother tells her that changing things is difficult. She talks to each of her parents about the US presidential candidates, with her mom saying she'll vote for Jimmy Carter because she thinks the country needs a change and her dad saying he'll vote for Gerald Ford because he thinks the country may not be ready for Carter's ideas. Julie asks if he might change his mind, and he says he might if he watches other debates. They talk about debates and how they allow people to find out what candidates think on various issues, and Dad says he'll take Julie to the next debate in San Francisco. Julie replies that that would be groovy and says that it's given her an idea for her campaign.
Chapter Four: Heating Up
Chapter Five: The Election
Looking Back: Changes for America in the 1970s
Discusses the changes brought to America following Jimmy Carter's presidency. Topics covered:
- The 1976 presidential election between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, with many Americans feeling that Carter represented a better change in leadership and direction for America.
- Challenges the Carter administration faced after the election, including high inflation and the increased competition from foreign companies.
- President Carter's encouragment to find alternative energy sources and to conserve energy following the energy crisis.
- Television shows people watched that distracted them from the hard times and glorified the 1950s.
- The political and social changes that had many Americans not want to go back to the 1950s' way of life.
- Shirley Chrisholm, a Democratic candidate in the 1972 presidential election who later went on to become the first African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
- Disabled children not being allowed to attend schools with their able-bodied peers prior to the 1970s and their integration into standard classes.
- Judy Heumann, who founded Disabled in Action to advocate rights for the disabled.
Items associated with Changes for Julie
- On the back cover of the first three books, Changes For Julie is shown with a different cover (her and Ivy walking down the street).