Cover image for Let the children march
Title:
Let the children march
ISBN:
9780544704527
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm.
Reading Level:
650 Lexile.
Added Author:
Summary:
Under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, children and teenagers march against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.
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Summary

Summary

Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration2019

I couldn't play on the same playground as the white kids.
I couldn't go to their schools.
I couldn't drink from their water fountains.
There were so many things I couldn't do.
In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world. Frank Morrison's emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life, while Monica Clark-Robinson's moving and poetic words document this remarkable time.


Author Notes

Monica Clark-Robinson is a writer, part-time professor, and professional actor who has been writing for over fifteen years. This is her picture book debut.

Frank Morrison is the illustrator of more than twenty books, including a John Steptoe Award winner, Jazzy Miz Mozetta , and a Coretta Scott King Honor book, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone.


Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Clark-Robinson's stirring debut unfolds through the resolute voice of a (fictional) African-American girl participating in the 1963 Children's Crusade, during which young residents of Birmingham, Ala., marched to protest segregation. "Dr. King told us the time had come to march," the girl explains. Her parents can't risk losing their jobs, so she, her brother, and thousands of their peers volunteer to serve as "Dr. King's army" ("This burden, this time, did not have to be theirs to bear"). Morrison's dynamic oil paintings viscerally expose the protesters' courage and fear, as well as the anger of white onlookers and police who sic dogs on the marchers and blast them with hoses before locking many in jail. The children's refrains ("Singing the songs of freedom, one thousand strong we came") are displayed like banners across the pages, emphasizing collective strength in the face of brutal violence. The narrator's conclusion, "Our march made the difference," serves as a powerful reminder for today's readers about their own ability to fight for justice and equality. Ages 6-9. Author's agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

For nearly a week in racially charged 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, hundreds of young people under the age of eighteen joined the Childrens Crusade and were harassed, beaten, and thrown in jail for their nonviolent protests against segregation. In a picture book based on these events, an unnamed girl takes readers through the African American communitys difficult decision to undertake the march, and the harrowing journey that followed. The decision to let the children march wasnt an easy one for the adults to make. But as Martin Luther King Jr. said, it was ultimately agreed that the children were doing a job for not only themselves, but for all of America and all mankind. We follow the young girl as she marches in the face of hatred, with Courage by [her] side; witnesses her fellow marchers being attacked by dogs; and is jailed. She emerges to the news that desegregation will finally begin in Birmingham. A strong, poetic text (We heard that the next day, and / the next, more kids marched. / The water hoses they used to sting us / could not stop our fierce tide) is accompanied by remarkable oil paintings that capture the emotions on the faces of protesters and counter-protesters alike. While the last page hints at a rather rushed optimism about racial harmony, the art throughout is a vibrant representation of the determination and courage of the civil rights movement. A nuanced account that could inspire the youngest readers to make a big difference. Appended with an afterword, source notes, a timeline, and a brief bibliography. eboni njoku (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Nearly 55 years ago, an antisegregation march that came to be known as the Children's Crusade was instrumental in pushing President Kennedy and Congress to adopt the Voting Rights Act. That historic event is chronicled here in a semifictional narrative from the perspective of one of the young participants in Birmingham in 1963. Bolstered by Dr. King's assurances, the children endure snarling dogs, water hoses, and jail, emerging exhausted but undefeated. Morrison's lush oil paintings illustrate Clark-Robinson's terse descriptions, bringing to life the determination of the marchers, the brutality of the police, and the stifling heat of the packed jail cells without sugarcoating the reality. This remarkable story remains relevant today as young readers think about their roles in the ongoing struggle for justice. Teachers who use this book might scaffold it with additional resources that teach about the intensive planning and organization that went into this and other activist campaigns.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2017 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

How should adults present the grave injustices throughout black history to young readers? Biographies can help. HISTORY IS A STORY like any other, but black history is a story so devoid of logic that it frustrates the young reader. The young readers in my house, told of slavery and segregation, asked in disbelief: "What? Why?" We - the parents of black children, the parents of all children - still need to tell that story. It comforts the adult conscience to remember that amid history's grave injustices there were still great lives. Hence, I suspect, the preponderance of biographies for children published to coincide with Black History Month. Among that genre's newest arrivals are names familiar to adults, as in THE UNITED STATES V. JACKIE ROBINSON (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99, ages 4 to 8), written by Sudipta BardhanQuallen. This picture book is more interested in young Robinson's less-known act of resistance during his Army days than in his later, trailblazing career as a baseball player. It's nice to have an athlete celebrated for personal integrity over physical prowess, and R. Gregory Christie's pictures bolster this, evoking a Robinson who is strong and sure, but also smiling, warm, and ultimately, triumphant. Ella Fitzgerald is more than a familiar name; understanding this, Helen Hancocks has called her new picture book ELLA QUEEN OF JAZZ (Frances Lincoln Children's Books/Quarto, $17.99; ages 4 to 8). Hancocks's illustrations are superb - bright and suitably retro in style. But her tale takes a turn that is not the one Fitzgerald deserves. The focus is mostly on how Fitzgerald's friendship with Marilyn Monroe helped her career, and the movie star, alas, upstages the singer. BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET (Holiday House, $17.95; ages 4 to 8) is a straightforward picture-book biography of the exceptional Harriet Ttibman. In minimalist verse, Lesa Cline-Ransome begins with the woman in her dotage, then walks readers back through her years as suffragist, spy and liberator - but also, importantly, as a woman who simply wanted to be free. James E. Ransome's lovely watercolor illustrations capture Ttibman's daring, her joy and her dignity. Sandra Neil Wallace's BETWEEN THE LINES: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $17.99; ages 4 to 8), illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a beautiful testament to a quintessentially American life. Wallace and Collier celebrate both Barnes's success on the gridiron and his subsequent reinvention as an artist. As in "The United States v. Jackie Robinson," athleticism is a secondary concern; early on, we see the young Barnes in a museum, wondering where the black painters are, and the story ends with contemporary young museumgoers being shown Barnes's art. This choice makes the story so satisfying, and just what you want at bedtime. In LET THE CHILDREN MARCH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, $17.99; ages 6 to 9) Monica Clark-Robinson tells one girl's story of the 1963 children's march on Birmingham. Frank Morrison's illustrations are loose and modern in spirit, enlivening the history lesson. It's understandable to want to channel Martin Luther King Jr.'s oratorical gifts when writing about him, but sometimes the metaphors strain. Still, the book's message is clear and bracing: King understood that it's children who will lead the way, and the man's faith in the future is reassuring even now. Two biographical compendiums, Vashti Harrison's LITTLE LEADERS: Bold Women in Black History (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99; ages 8 to 12) and Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins's YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK (Wide Eyed Editions/Quarto, $22.99; ages 7 to 10) are, by contrast, not bedtime reading but texts that belong in any home library, to be revisited again and again. Wilson's book celebrates a variety of black achievement; there are biographical sketches of Kofi Annan and Stevie Wonder, Solange Knowles and Naomi Campbell, accompanied by Andrea Pippins's illustrations, full of verve but also quite dignified. The candy-colored pages and straightforward stories are hard to resist, and will doubtless forever shape the way many readers think about Wangari Maathai and Langston Hughes. Harrison's book focuses on great black women, and it's lovely to see Lorna Simpson and Gwen Ifill ascend to the ranks of Marian Anderson and Bessie Coleman. Harrison wants readers to imagine themselves in such august company; her adorable illustrations depict all of these figures as a little black girl, an everygirl, in a variety of costumes and backdrops. Harrison and Wilson have similar projects. But which book is better? I'd like to point out that my sons own around 40 volumes on the subject of trucks. Young readers deserve both these books. FOR OLDER READERS The person most qualified to tell the tale of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the man himself, as gifted an intellect as he is an athlete. Written with Raymond Obstfeld, his autobiography, BECOMING KAREEM: Growing Up On and Off the Court (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99; ages 10 and up) is aimed at middle grade readers but could and should be read aloud to younger kids. It's a tale by a wise elder - about basketball, sure, but also about cultural, political, social and religious awakenings, big stuff narrated in a very accessible way. MARTIN RISING: Requiem for a King (Scholastic, $19.99; ages 9 to 12) is a collaboration by two of children's literature's most well-known names, Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney (who happen to be married). It's a work of verse, with some prose end matter to help elucidate the poems, and it will reward a reader sophisticated enough to grapple with language and metaphor. Andrea Davis Pinkney frames her poem cycle about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last months with the figure of Henny Penny, the bird who either worried or prophesied, and she makes King's death feel as significant as the falling of the sky above. It is, of course, a terrible and sad story, but one in which Brian Pinkney's illustrations manage to find beauty. King is an evergreen subject, so significant and complex that the story of his life and death can withstand repeated tellings. James L. Swanson's CHASING KING'S KILLER: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Assassin (Scholastic, $19.99; ages 12 and up) is a departure, less classroom text than airport thriller. It's a bit like sneaking kale into brownies: Swanson offers plenty of context on King's activism and his turbulent times, but frames the book as a manhunt for James Earl Ray. This approach makes education feel more like entertainment, and will prove seductive to even a reluctant older reader. My children are too young, yet, for Swanson's thriller and the Pinkneys' elegiac tribute, or maybe I simply want to believe that they are. They have a lifetime of reading ahead, particularly if they are to meet Dr. King's expectations for them. For now, my boys can suspend disbelief and accept that Pippi Longstocking can lift a horse and plays with pistols. But they won't be able to believe what happened to Dr. King in Memphis. Who among us can? RUMAAN alam is the author of two novels, "Rich and Pretty" and "That Kind of Mother," which will be published next month.


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-The youth of the Birmingham civil rights movement take center stage in this historical picture book. Clark-Robinson narrates from the voice of an unnamed girl, using simple language to tell the story of the momentous events surrounding the arrest and jailing of hundreds of children protesting racial segregation. The narrator states bluntly, "There were so many things I couldn't do." Much of the text will provoke questions and important conversations between children and adult readers. The experiences of segregation are sensitively depicted by Morrison. A playground behind a tall sharp fence sets the stage, while portrait-quality oil paintings of the children and civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. fill the rest of the pages. The defiance, determination, and passion comes through clearly on the faces of the figures. An afterword and author's and illustrator's notes provide additional information, as does a cleverly illustrated time line on the endpapers. VERDICT A highly readable historical account which deserves a place on picture book and nonfiction shelves alike.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

A vibrantly illustrated account of the Birmingham Children's Crusade through the eyes of a young girl who volunteers to participate.Morrison's signature style depicts each black child throughout the book as a distinct individual; on the endpapers, children hold signs that collectively create a "Civil Rights and the Children's Crusade" timeline, placing the events of the book in the context of the greater movement. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to speak at her church, a girl and her brother volunteer to march in their parents' stead. The narrative succinctly explains why the Children's Crusade was a necessary logistical move, one that children and parents made with careful consideration and despite fear. Lines of text ("Let the children march. / They will lead the way // The path may be long and / troubled, but I'm gonna walk on!") are placed within the illustrations in bold swoops for emphasis. Morrison's powerful use of perspective makes his beautiful oil paintings even more dynamic and conveys the intensity of the situations depicted, including the children's being arrested, hosed, and jailed. The child crusaders, regardless of how badly they're treated, never lose their dignity, which the art conveys flawlessly. While the children win the day, such details as the Confederate flag subtly connect the struggle to the current day. A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event. (timeline, afterword, artist's statement, quote sources, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.