Congressman and civil rights advocate Elijah Cummings dedicated his life to public service. This comprehensive and visually stunning biography details his humble beginnings and unwavering faith as he waged an endless battle for truth, justice, and equality.

We can do better.

When Elijah Cummings was a little boy, he struggled in school. His teachers thought he talked too much and asked too many questions. They said he'd never be able to read or write well.

Despite his difficulties, Elijah never gave up. He persevered, having faith that with hard work, he'd be able to achieve his goals.

Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Laura Freeman marry words and images beautifully in this picture book biography of politician and civil rights champion Elijah Cummings, detailing his inspiring journey--from his humble beginnings as the son of former sharecroppers to his unwavering faith as he became a lawyer, state legislator, and leading congressman. Best known as a voice for people of color and an advocate for equal opportunity, Elijah Cummings was a man of faith and dignity, a beacon of justice, and an unrelenting warrior for equality and change.


Weatherford's picture book biography of Elijah Cummings tells the story of a young boy from South Baltimore who despite his struggles becomes a civil rights activist and Congressman. Beginning with some remarks by Nancy Pelosi, the book follows Elijah from his first protest at the age of eleven through his childhood, young adulthood, and career.  The book focuses on significant events that influenced Cummings life such as when his parents informed him he wouldn't be missing school unless he was dead.  Despite his parents support and encouragement he struggled in school and his teachers claimed he wouldn't ever be a good reader or writer.  But librarians from the local public library tutored him providing the extra help he needed to be successful.  Other experiences such as deciding to be a lawyer, running for Congress, and his ongoing efforts to stand up for equality and opportunities for all are also described. Quotes from Cummings himself are included on every spread giving the reader a glimpse into this remarkable man.  Laura Freeman's digitally created illustrations are gorgeous and beautifully compliment Weatherford's well-written, precise text.  This inspirational introduction to a man who made a difference in the world may very well inspire others to do the same. The thorough documentation at the end of the book including both a bibliography and timeline adds to the value of the book. Highly recommended.


Meet activist Alton Yates, an Air Force veteran who dedicated his life to propelling America forward—from space travel to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond—in this inspiring nonfiction picture book.

As a child growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, Alton Yates watched Black veterans return home from fighting for their country, only to have that country turn its back on them. After Alton joined the Air Force and risked his life to make spacecraft and airplane flight safer, he returned home to the same Jim Crow laws.

Alton now had a new mission: To make a stand against Jim Crow.

Based on author Chris Barton’s extensive interviews, witness Alton Yates’s lifelong commitment to his country, as he put his life on the line time and again for science, for civil rights, and for America’s progress.


Picture book biographies that introduce young readers to people from the past can open doors to understanding events from the past.  Chris Barton does a remarkable job introducing young readers to a civil rights activist with a rather unusual history who like so many such activists paid a heavy price for his courage.  Before becoming an activist though, Alton Yates served in the Air Force where he volunteered himself for experiments regarding human safety in airplanes, spacecraft, and automobiles.  He was subjected to incredible pressures on the ground, in the air, and under water.  Alton returned home after four years to help care for his younger siblings when his father got sick.  The prejudice and poor treatment he faced on the way home inspired him to get involved in trying to change things in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.  After joining the NAACP Youth Council, he began participating in protests  regarding segregated lunch counters in department stores and elsewhere.  He was on the front lines during what came to be known as Ax Handle Saturday where protesters were attacked by white men carrying wooden ax handles.  Alton like others that day was injured. But he didn't quit and even now supports the fight for "what's just and what's fair".  This inspiring story of courage and self-sacrifice is thoroughly documented in the backmatter that includes a time line, author and illustrator notes as well as a selected sources section.  Walthall's lovely illustrations help drive home this powerful story.  A wonderfully well-done book all around, I highly recommend it.


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