Tuesday, February 14, 2017

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson/Martin's Dream Day by Kitty Kelley


Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference.

Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks intended to go places and do things like anybody else.

So when she heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she spoke up. As she listened to the preacher’s words, smooth as glass, she sat up tall. And when she heard the plan—picket those white stores! March to protest those unfair laws! Fill the jails!—she stepped right up and said, I’ll do it! She was going to j-a-a-il!

Audrey Faye Hendricks was confident and bold and brave as can be, and hers is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement.


Audrey Faye Hendricks grew up listening to civil rights leaders discuss their efforts to get ride of segregation.  At the young age of 9 she decided that she wanted to be a part of the movement.  And when adults were reluctant to participate, Audrey, along with many other children, stepped forward to help.  But Audrey quickly discovers that jail is not what she expected.  Can she make it through to the end?  Levinson has taken the story of a young protestor and turned it into a picture book.  This book combines a true story with great illustrations to tell about a young girl who made a difference.  Audrey's courage and conviction are truly inspiring and demonstrate wonderfully the power of one to make a difference, especially when combined with the efforts of others.


Bestselling author and journalist Kitty Kelley combines her elegant storytelling with Stanley Tretick’s iconic photographs to transport readers to the 1963 March on Washington, bringing that historic day vividly to life for a new generation.

Martin Luther King Jr. was nervous.

Standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, he was about to address 250,000 people with what would become known as his “I Have a Dream Speech”—the most famous speech of his life.

This day—August 28, 1963—was a momentous day in the Civil Rights Movement. It was the culmination of years spent leading marches, sit-ins, and boycotts across the South to bring attention to the plight of African Americans. Years spent demanding equality for all. Years spent dreaming of the day that black people would have the same rights as white people, and would be treated with the same dignity and respect. It was time for Martin to share his dream.


Combining text and photographs makes for a powerful combination in this book about Martin Luther King and the March on Washington. The photographs are especially powerful in helping make the story all the more real.  The length of the text makes this most appropriate for older readers (ages 8-10), but the book could also be used with older students who are studying the civil rights era.  The focus is on the March on Washington, but Kelley does a nice job of providing context for it, both leading up to the March and some of what happened afterwards.  I appreciated the photograph notes at the end of the book that identified the individuals of importance, although this might have been nice to have in captions instead, but at least it was there.  This book makes for a great teaching tool and an eye-opening look at an important event in the history of the United States.

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