Cover image for Birmingham Sunday
Birmingham Sunday
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, Pa. : Calkins Creek, c2010.
Physical Description:
48 p. : ill. ; 27 x 29 cm.
Reading Level:
NC 1190 L Lexile
Learn about the bomb blast that rocked the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on Sunday morning, September 15, 1963, killing four young girls.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 323.1196 BRI 1 1
Book J 323.1196 BRI 1 1
Book J 323.1196 BRI 1 1

On Order



Racial bombings were so frequent in Birmingham that it became known as "Bombingham." Until September 15, 1963, these attacks had been threatening but not deadly. On that Sunday morning, however, a blast in the 16th Street Baptist Church ripped through the exterior wall and claimed the lives of four girls. The church was the ideal target for segregationists, as it was the rallying place for Birmingham's African American community, Martin Luther King, Jr., using it as his "headquarters" when he was in town to further the cause of desegregation and equal rights. Rather than triggering paralyzing fear, the bombing was the definitive act that guaranteed passage of the landmark 1964 civil rights legislation. Birmingham Sunday, a Jane Addams Children's Honor Book, NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book, and Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of the Year, centers on this fateful day and places it in historical context.

Author Notes

Larry Dane Brimner was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and spent his early childhood exploring Alaska's Kodiak Island. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in British Literature from San Diego State University, where he graduated cum laude, and later received advanced degrees in writing and curriculum development. During his twenty-year teaching career, he began to write for publication.

Brimner made his debut in children's books with the publication of BMX Freestyle in 1987. It was named an International Reading Association Children's Choice book for 1988. This title was followed by Country Bear's Good Neighbor, which the American Booksellers Association named their "Pick of the List." Brimner wrote A Migrant Family, which was named a Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC); Max and Felix , a nominee for the Kentucky Bluegrass Award; Voices From the Camps, cited as a Best Book for the Teen Age by New York Public Library; Snowboarding, an IRA Children's Choice for 1998; and the Official M&M'sĀ® Book of the Millennium, an IRA Children's Choice for 2000.

Brimner is the author of more than 110 books for young people. He also speaks to school children about the writing process or to teachers at conferences. In 2014 his title, Strike: The Farm Workers Fight for Their Rights, made the Civil Rights Hot Title's List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Horn Book Review

After introducing the four girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, Brimner backtracks to provide historical context on segregation and desegregation in the U.S. The well-researched details--particularly regarding the efforts to bring the bombers to justice--and the numerous black-and-white photographs make this volume a worthwhile addition to civil rights movement collections. Reading list. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

This moving photo-essay covers much more than just an account of the Birmingham, Alabama, Baptist Church bombing that killed four young girls in 1963. The detailed text, illustrated with black-and-white photos on every spacious double-page spread, sets the shocking assassination of the children within a general overview of both the racist segregation of the times and the struggle against it. The civil rights history includes the start of the NAACP, the resistance of Rosa Parks, sit-ins at lunch counters, the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and more. Also included are specific examples of racist hatred, including Police Commissioner Connor's order to use fire hoses on young African American children. One of the most shocking photos shows Klan members at a rally with their children in full regalia. Final pages feature full-page biographies with small portraits of each of the four girls as well as the two young boys who died on the streets. Many readers will use the extensive source notes and bibliography that close this close view of that tragic Sunday.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-September 16, 1963, was one of the most horrific days in American history. On a quiet Sunday morning, the Sixteenth Street Baptist church was bombed, and four little girls were killed. The author successfully blends the facts of the event with the intense emotions of the period in order to bring it to life. The facts regarding Jim Crow, segregation, as well as civil rights successes in bus integration and the Brown v. Board of Education ruling are explored in order to provide the context for the tragic event. These facts propelled African Americans to become even more hopeful and determined to achieve equality while those who opposed equality between whites and blacks became even more invested in seeing their efforts fail at any cost. Thorough research that includes FBI files, police surveillance records, and primary-source documents gives a detailed and fascinating look at the intense, decades-long federal and state investigation. This information, accompanied by the personal reflections from both the families of the victims and the perpetrators, ensures that readers will never forget the human impact of this significant part of the Civil Rights Movement. The book is beautifully designed, with good-quality, black-and-white photos, informative captions, and pertinent pull quotes. A worthy addition to any collection.-Margaret Auguste, Franklin Middle School, Somerset, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Brimner focuses on the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and successfully illuminates in chronological order the events, social tensions and political reverberations of that terror-filled time. Beginning with personal information about each of the four girls killed in the blast, he then introduces powerful figures or groups, some not well known, on both sides of the Civil Rights Movement. They are brought to life with information gleaned from various primary sources including FBI reports, police surveillance files, court transcripts and oral-history accounts. Each victim of the bombing and each advocate emerges for readers through quotes, black-and-white photographs and engaging, descriptive prose. Sidebars provide related information about the Movement and augment the highly accessible text. On the final pages are profiles of those responsible for the brutal bombing and the justice they finally received. A standout book for its thorough research and comprehensive look at the incident that led to the 1964 passage of civil-rights legislation. (further reading, author's note, source notes, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 10 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.