Nonfiction Monday: We've Got a Job by Cynthia Levinson

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
written by Cynthia Levinson
Peachtree, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-56145-627-7
176 p.
Grades 3 and up
Reviewed from purchased copy.

BLURB: We ve Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alalama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America. Focusing on four of the original participants who have participated in extensive interviews, We ve Got a Job recounts the astonishing events before, during, and after the Children's March.
Levinson has done an incredible job with this book.  Not only does she give an account of the events leading up to and including the Children's March but she merges comments from some of the participants.  This is how narrative nonfiction should be done. The book is beautifully organized with complementary photographs.  I almost felt like I was there while reading this book.Clearly, the author has done her research, but more than that, she has made it understandable for the young reader.

I think what makes this account so powerful is the sense of immediacy that Levinson has created.  It felt like it was happening as I was reading about it rather than almost fifty years ago.  It was amazing to read about the courage of the children who participate, ages 9 to 18 with a few adults mixed in. The story in the prologue starts the book off with a bang.  The idea of a nine-year-old child telling her parents that she wants to go to jail hit me hard.  The descriptions of hundreds of children crammed into jail cells meant to hold many fewer occupants was also full of impact.  I think the part though that really got me was when fire hoses were turned on the marchers.

I highly, highly recommend this book for any reader who wants to see the power of unity or the power of children to make a difference.  This would be a great book to use in teaching about civil rights or just plain courage.
Head on over to 100 Scope Notes for today's Nonfiction Monday and some more great nonfiction recommendations.


  1. I've heard so much about this book - it's amazing to know how involved the children were in those early days of the Civil Rights movement.

  2. Wow! Sounds like a powerful book! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I watched a documentary in one of my college classes about the children's march. I was so blown away and amazed by it! I could not believe that I hadn't heard of it before! I think it should be a much more publicized story and I think this book will let more peole know about the actions that these brave children took toward their freedom and future! Thanks for the review!

  4. Thank you, Geo Librarian, for reviewing my book. I'm honored that you did so and delighted by your enthusiasm.


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