We've got a job The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

Cynthia Levinson

Book - 2012

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Review by New York Times Review

The win powers of optimism and determination shine through in this fictional account of an 8-year-old girl, Belle, and her grandmother, Ivory Belle Coles, of Pecan Flats, Miss. The creators of "Uncle Jed's Barbershop" describe how Belle travels with her grandmother across the segregated South on a small singing tour. Ransome's inviting watercolors emphasize the story's theme of togetherness, helping to transcend its sorrows. WORDS SET ME FREE The Story of Young Frederick Douglass. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. 32 pp. A Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 9) The author and illustrator, a husband-and-wife team who collaborated previously on "Satchel Paige," base their biography of young Douglass on his "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass." Using the first person, they describe Douglass's arduous early life as the spurned son of his master, forced to live apart from his slave mother. Visceral, intimate and plainly told, this story is sure to move young children, and also motivate them to read more. JUST AS GOOD How Larry Doby Changed Americas Game. By Chris Crowe. Illustrated by Mike Benny. 32 pp. Candlewick Press. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 6 to 10) Homer and his daddy are huge Cleveland Indians fans and are thrilled when Larry Doby, the first black player to hit a home run in the World Series, joins their favorite team in 1947. Especially since Homer has been kicked off his Little League team because, his coach says, Jackie Robinson is just "a fluke." Like many fans, Homer and his father switch on the radio to listen to Doby's big game, which "Just as Good" recreates play-by-play with Benny's lush acrylics. WE'VE GOT A JOB The 1963 Birmingham Children's March. By Cynthia Levinson. Illustrated. 176 pp. Peachtree. $19.95. (Middle grade; ages 10 and up) This extensively researched account of the Birmingham Children's March is enriched by Levinson's in-depth interviews with dozens of its student participants and by its intimate focus on four of those children, two boys and two girls. Their stories - Wash Booker didn't have a bath in hot running water until he was nearly 10; Audrey Faye Hendricks's parents were threatened for taking part in nonviolent protest - make clear why children as young as 9 were willing to risk jail to secure equal rights. Black and white photos and excerpts from documents of the time round out this riveting, significant work of nonfiction. BEST SHOT IN THE WEST The Adventures of Nat Love. By Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack Jr. Illustrated by Randy DuBurke. 129 pp. Chronicle Books. $19.99. (Graphic novel; ages 12 and up) The most famous black cowboy in the West stars in this gripping graphic novel, based on the autobiographical "Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as 'Deadwood Dick.'" (And who wouldn't want to know more about that?) Told in flashback style by the older Love, whom we meet as a beleaguered Pullman porter, the story begins in a wash of grays that gradually glow with the golds, burnt siennas and lush greens of rural, pre-Civil War Tennessee. DuBurke's illustrations tend to rob his characters' faces of expression, though he is much better with the story's gritty action, horses surrounded by clouds of dust, and blazing gunfire. PAMELA PAUL ONLINE A slide show of this week's illustrated books at nytimes.com/books.

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [February 5, 2012] Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Even with the many fine books out there about the role of young people in the civil rights era, this highly readable photo-essay will hold YA readers with its focus on four young people who participated in the Birmingham Children's March, setting their stories against the big picture of the fight against segregation and the roles of adults. At nine, Audrey Hendricks was the youngest of almost 4,000 black children who marched, protested, and sang their way to jail, and she had the support of her church, teachers, and middle-class parents. Washington Booker lived in poverty in the projects; for him the police were the ultimate terror. Smart, academic James Stewart chose not to do sit-ins, but marching felt right. Arnetta Streeter went to young activists' training. Important adult leaders on all sides are included in the story, from Martin Luther King Jr. and the Reverend Shuttlesworth to Bull Connor, and Levinson points out not only the individuals with extreme viewpoints but also the moderates who kept quiet about the insulting separate but equal policies. The format will hook readers with spacious type, boxed quotes, and large black-and-white photos on almost every double-page spread, from the horrifying view of the Klan marching with children to the young protestors waiting to be arrested. A fascinating look at a rarely covered event for both curriculum and personal interest. Chapter notes, a time line, and a bibliography conclude.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This chronicle of a pivotal chapter of the civil rights movement weaves together the stories of four black children in Birmingham, Ala., who were among some 4,000 who boycotted school to participate in a march to protest segregation. Before recounting that event, during which almost 2,500 young people were arrested and jailed, first-time author Levinson opens with intimate profiles of the four spotlighted children (drawn from interviews she conducted with each of them), along with descriptions of Birmingham's racist laws, corrupt politicians, antiblack sentiment-and activists' efforts to fight all of the above. Readers also get an up-close view of such leaders as Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights; Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated a nonviolent response; and James Bevel, a preacher who rallied the city's children and teens. Yet the most compelling component is Levinson's dramatic re-creation of the courageous children's crusade and the change it helped bring about in the face of widespread prejudice and brutality. Powerful period photos and topical sidebars heighten the story's impact. Ages 10-up. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-This photo-essay stands out for its engrossing content, excellent composition, and riveting use of primary-source material. Covering the history of the Birmingham Children's March from inception to full impact, Levinson traces the stories of four young people between the ages of 9 and 15 in 1963. Audrey Hendricks, Washington Booker III, Arnetta Streeter, and James Stewart came from very different segments of the city's black community, but all risked their lives and spent time in jail to fight for their freedom. Tracing their different routes to activism and melding it beautifully into the larger history of race relations in Birmingham and in the American South, the author creates a multidimensional picture of the times and the forces at work. Interviews with the four principals, one of whom died in 2009, give the narrative power and immediacy. Reproductions of period photos, notices, and documents provide additional insight. The map of downtown Birmingham, with locations mentioned in the text delineated, is a great help in placing both photos and text in a landscape. With a helpful list of abbreviations, excellent source notes, photo credits, a fine bibliography, and a comprehensive index, this a great research source, but it's also just plain thought-provoking reading about a time that was both sobering and stirring. Recommended for middle and high school library collections to stand together with Charlayne Hunter-Gault's To the Mountaintop (Roaring Brook, 2012), Ann Bausum's Marching to the Mountaintop (National Geographic, 2012), and Larry Dane Brimner's Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor (Boyds Mills, 2011).-Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 was a "dismally segregated" place, from lunch counters, parks, and department-store dressing rooms to public schools. The civil rights movement led by Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy, and Martin Luther King Jr. intended to change all of that. Focusing on four young African Americans but never losing sight of the overall struggle, Levinson does a superb job of taking readers inside the movement, demonstrating just how difficult it was for the leaders to create a movement at all. Many blacks questioned nonviolence as a tactic, and many feared for their jobs. Adults didnt take to the streets in great enough numbers, so children had to: with young minister James Bevel as their Pied Piper, young people turned out in great numbers, intending to get arrested, fill the jails, and cripple the city. Their actions inspired adults, but when police responded with hoses, dogs, and billy clubs, nonviolence was a difficult promise to keep, as Levinson effectively shows. Clear and lively writing, well-chosen photographs, and thorough documentation make this a fine chronicle of the civil rights era. Though it lacks the tight narrative focus and the stunning photographs of Elizabeth Partridges Marching for Freedom (rev. 11/09), both volumes show that, sometimes, children can change the world. dean schneider (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.