Cover image for John Lewis in the lead : a story of the civil rights movement
John Lewis in the lead : a story of the civil rights movement
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Lee & Low, c2006.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) ; col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Reading Level:
950 L Lexile
"A biography of John Lewis, Georgia Congressman and one of the 'Big Six' civil rights leaders of the 1960s, focusing on his youth and culminating in the voter registration drives that sparked 'Bloody Sunday, ' as hundreds of people walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. Includes a note by Congressman Lewis and a timeline"--Provided by publisher.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 LEWIS 1 1

On Order



The story of civil rights activist John Lewis, inspired to action by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders who believed in fighting segregation peacefully. From Tennessee to Alabama, Lewis was in the forefront of the major civil rights protests of the 1960s. In the face of physical attacks, he persevered with dignity and devotion to nonviolence, helping black people in the south gain the right to vote. In 1986 Lewis was elected to represent Georgia in the United States Congress, where he continues to serve today.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-A picture-book biography of the U.S. congressman from Georgia who played a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement. The text is engaging as the authors detail Lewis's childhood in the segregated South and his growing activism and participation in nonviolent resistance. Lewis's organization of, and involvement in, events such as lunch-counter sit-ins, freedom rides, marches, and voter-registration drives are chronicled, while Andrews's full-page, folk-art oil-and-fabric collage illustrations convey the sense of time and place, and the drama of the unfolding events. Ann Bausum's Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement (National Geographic, 2005), written for an older audience, provides more in-depth, grittier coverage of Lewis's participation in this movement. Christine Hill's John Lewis: From Freedom Rider to Congressman (Enslow, 2002) is a straightforward biography. Haskins and Benson have written a lively, readable introduction to this important figure.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The authors offer a cogent account of the impressive leading role John Lewis, who has been serving as a U.S. Representative from Georgia for the past 20 years, played in the civil rights movement. The narrative incorporates intriguing vignettes: born in 1940, John aspired from an early age to be a minister and practiced preaching to the chickens in his charge on the Alabama farm where his family lived as sharecroppers. Although he was angered by segregation practices, his parents warned him to remain quiet to avoid getting in trouble. After his graduation from high school, John met Martin Luther King Jr., who urged John to study the teachings of Gandhi, and Lewis became a crusader of nonviolent resistance. He organized sit-ins at lunch counters, became a Freedom Rider and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington on the same day that King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. After being badly injured in the 1965 riot known as Bloody Sunday, John helped lead the triumphant march from Selma to Montgomery several weeks later, in support of voting rights for all Americans. Andrews's (Sky Sash So Blue) folk art-style illustrations, rendered in oils and fabric collage, convey the tenacity and courage of Lewis and his colleagues as well as the fierce tensions of the time. Ages 7-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Primary, Intermediate) John Lewis, born in 1940 and now a twenty-year veteran of Congress, earned early distinction in the civil rights actions of the 1960s. Elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1963, he was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington later that year. The authors follow Lewis from his student years as an aspiring minister and admirer of Martin Luther King Jr. to his leading role in the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1964, which precipitated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The authors' spare, understated narration renders the courage of Lewis and his fellow nonviolent protestors, who repeatedly endured vicious attacks, even more telling. Andrews's expertly composed art (oils and fabric collage) enhance the drama. Though meek in scale and demeanor, the slender, exaggeratedly vertical heroes dominate the space with an inner integrity that stands in subtle contrast to the troopers' aggressive angularity. Based on an interview plus the Georgia congressman's own writings, the book includes a two-page chronology with photographs. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

"John Lewis was born at a time when the winds of change were blowing." The son of an Alabama sharecropper, Lewis was 15 when he heard Martin Luther King Jr. talking about the Montgomery bus boycott and realized "It was time to turn things upside down in order to set them right side up." By the time he went to college in Nashville, Tenn., Lewis was committed to the Civil Rights movement and was soon to be involved in every major event. In 1986, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Georgia. The writing here is dramatic, matching well Andrews's beautiful folk art-style illustrations, rendered in oils and fabric collage. The bibliography, however, consists only of two works by Lewis himself and an interview with him--no other works to root the subject in the larger historical perspective or to guide young readers to the growing number of fine works on the period. Still, this is an attractive portrait of a "living legend" and a good match with Delivering Justice (2006), also by Haskins and Andrews. (timeline) (Picture book. 7-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Born in a sharecropper family in the segregated South in 1940, John Lewis grew up to lead many protests for civil rights, and he has served in Congress for the last 20 years. In this handsome picture book for older readers, the authors blend information on Lewis' political contributions with the history of the civil rights struggle. At 15, Lewis protested because he was denied a library card; at 23, he was the youngest speaker in the 1963 March on Washington; and during the long struggle to register to vote, climaxing on Bloody Sunday, he was seriously injured. Andrews' dramatic, folk-art-style, color-saturated illustrations combine handsome individual portraits of Lewis with overviews of the horrific street violence by mobs, police, and troopers. Without sensationalizing, this shows the bravery of the activists and the difficult fight they faced. A time line, a selection of black-and-white photos, and a bibliography are appended. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 Booklist