Preaching to the Chickens: the Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim, illustrated by E. B. Lewis


 Preaching to the Chickens: the Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim, illustrated by E. B. Lewis, Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016. 61rh48-tdl

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Genre:  Biography

What did you like about the book? Georgia congressman John Lewis, a prominent member of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, originally trained to be a minister. When he was a little boy he treated his family’s chickens as a congregation, tending to them lovingly, baptizing them, and preaching to them of God’s love. He even convinced his family to let them live, instead of being eaten: “The chickens stayed on the farm, and John learned to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.” This picture book biography captures the spirit of a young John Lewis, by showing a snapshot of him in childhood, playing a child’s game that would stand him in good stead for his important work ahead. Writing as if he were a witness to the sounds and sights of rural Alabama, the author tells the story simply and eloquently. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations are full of light and feeling. Includes an author’s note citing the inspiration for the story.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would work as an introduction to John Lewis, or just as a sweet family read-aloud

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Biography or picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: December 1, 2016

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