The youngest marcher The story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a young civil rights activist

Cynthia Levinson

Book - 2017

Presents the life of nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks who became the youngest known child to be arrested for picketing against Birmingham segregation practices in 1963.

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Review by New York Times Review

"Somewhere in Brooklyn," begins this incandescent biography, the winner of the 2017 Caldecott Medal, "a little boy dreams of being a famous artist." Basquiat died in 1988 at just 27, but he left a vibrant legacy that Steptoe, painting and collaging on salvaged wood pieces from Basquiat's own hunting grounds, conveys to a new generation. Steptoe's words, too, go straight for the heart, redeeming often harsh facts of the artist's life by focusing on how both his strength and his pain powered his art. MUHAMMAD ALI A Champion Is Born By Gene Barretta. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. 40 pp. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8) "He owed it all to a stolen bicycle," Barretta writes in this playful, dynamic look at the champion's quest for greatness. We see how one childhood incident - the young Cassius Clay reported the theft to a police officer, who invited him to learn to box - set the stage for a long career. There are highlights of his boxing fame, later years and racial-justice and humanitarian work. Morrison ("The Quickest Kid in Clarksville") gives the art a joyful zing and a serious yet eminently kid-friendly vibe. THE LEGENDARY MISS LENA HORNE By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. 32 pp. Atheneum. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 9) The veteran biographer Weatherford stirringly tells Lena Horne's extraordinary story - her birth into a high-achieving black family; her itinerant childhood; the showbiz career she built while enduring Jim Crow and Hollywood racism; her place in the civil rights movement; the ways "music saved her" to the end. Zunon ("Don't Call Me Grandma") plays with shadow and light to suggest the hidden depths of a very public life. The book's sizzling clarity recalls Horne's own voice. THE YoUNGEST MARCHER By Cynthia Levinson. Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. 32 pp. Atheneum. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 9) It's one of the more shocking and little-known stories of the civil rights movement: In 1963, the City of Birmingham jailed hundreds of kids for joining the Children's March. Among them was 7-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks, taken from her family to spend a week behind bars, eating "oily grits" and sleeping on a bare mattress. Levinson and Newton keep her story bright and snappy, emphasizing the girl's eagerness to make a difference and her proud place in her community. FREDERICK DOUGLASS The Lion Who Wrote History By Walter Dean Myers. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. 40 pp. Harper/HarperCollins. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 9) Douglass's life story has a magisterial glow in this posthumous work from the esteemed Myers. (It stands taller than most picture books, a fitting design decision.) Myers's words pointedly convey the centrality of reading and "careful decisions" to Douglass's struggle for freedom and his later public work, offering an anchor to children trying to comprehend the cruelties of American slavery. Cooper's realistic, slightly smudged art feels equally consequential, balancing dignity and emotion.

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [January 1, 2017] Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Levinson returns to the subject of We've Got a Job as she recounts, for a younger audience, the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks and her role in the 1963 Children's March in Birmingham, Ala. Moving briskly through events, Levinson explains how the young Hendricks was eager to stand up to segregation, marching alongside thousands of fellow students, who were subsequently arrested. Newton's bright, digitally assembled collages adeptly highlight the danger of the situation-grim cells, barbed-wire fences, children blasted with fire hoses-while emphasizing the power of the marchers' collective efforts to push back against injustice. Ages 5-10. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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

K-Gr 4-Levinson's We've Got a Job followed nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks and three other youths who were among the thousands of children and teens who marched for freedom in Birmingham, AL, in 1963. Here, she pulls from that material, including personal interviews, to highlight Hendricks's story for younger audiences, telling it from her subject's perspective. The author introduces the Hendricks family's frequent dinner guests, Mike, Fred, and Jim-the ministers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Shuttlesworth, and James Bevel, respectively. She also describes the indignities of African American life in Alabama at the time. When Mike's campaign to protest segregation and "fill the jails" doesn't work, young Audrey eagerly volunteers for Jim's new idea-getting children to march. Digital collage illustrations show a young, pigtailed Audrey and her family mostly smiling and happy leading up to the march-she even brings a new board game to pass the time. Pictures and words combine to depict the discomfort of Hendricks's actual experience: loneliness, unpalatable food, angry white interrogators, and even solitary confinement. Like young Audrey, readers will be relieved when her weeklong sentence is up and she goes home to "hot rolls, baptized in butter," and the promise of a brighter future. VERDICT Simplified and sweetened, but still a significant portrayal of Audrey Faye Hendricks and the Children's March. For collections in need of history materials for the younger set.-Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD © Copyright 2016. 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

Levinson tells the true story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest participant in the 1963 Birmingham Childrens March. Growing up in Alabama, nine-year-old Audrey knows all about segregation as a way of life. And listening to the grownups talk at church, she hears hateful stories that make her squirm. When the visiting preacher--Martin Luther King Jr., known to Audreys family as Mike--announces his plan for the congregation to fight segregation by marching and getting arrested, the adults demur. Then the idea for a Childrens March is floated, and Audrey is eager to join in: She was going to break a law and go to jail to help make things right. Levinson goes on to describe Audreys week in jail, with its loneliness, bad food, boredom, and intimidation--it was harder than shed thought--and her jubilation when she realizes that the Childrens March has been a success. The well-paced text captures a childs voice and presents time and place realistically. Brightly colored digital collages clearly depict both the hopeful spirit and the rawer emotions of one community involved in the civil rights struggle; a double-page spread of Audrey curled up on a bare mattress in her jail cell is particularly effective. A timeline, sources, and recipe for hot rolls baptized in butter (Audreys favorite food) are included; an authors note provides additional background. claudette s. mclinn (c) Copyright 2017. 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

Readers can decide whether, were they in Audrey's shoes, they would make the same dangerous decision.Nine-year-old Audrey and her mother are happily preparing a meal for their special guest, whom they call Mikeotherwise known as Martin Luther King Jr. It is this environment that helps her decide to march in Birmingham in May 1963 and get arrestedall to fight segregation peacefully. The adults are too fearful to march, so Audrey proudly volunteers to join other children and go to "j-a-a-il!" Her parents and her grandparents support her decision, and so, to the sounds of civil rights-era music, she is arrested. The time behind bars is unpleasant, but the cells soon fill up. Audrey comes home after seven days to her favorite food: "hot rolls, baptized in butter." Eating at an integrated lunch counter follows. Levinson, who wrote for older readers in We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March (2012), here carefully tailors her text to a level suitable for a younger audience. Newton's digital illustrations burst with color against a white background. Audrey smiles and looks fearful, as appropriate. A double-page spread of her in a jail cell, all in gray, is especially effective. A vivid reminder that it took a community to fight segregation and the community responded. (author's note, timeline, recipe, sources) (Informational picture book. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.