The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton


71vrkbisyol  The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Atheneum, 2017.  9781481400701

Format: Hardcover

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

What did you like about the book?  When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in Birmingham, Alabama in the spring of 1963, nine-year old Audrey Faye Hendricks was listening. King urged the parishioners at her church to disobey the unjust laws of segregation. He told folks to get arrested for standing up for their rights, and to fill the jails with so many people that the laws would have to change. But people were worried about their jobs, their homes, their safety. Instead, Audrey and hundreds of children protested and marched. Audrey was the youngest. This picture book describes The Children’s March, where more than 3,000 children were arrested that May in Birmingham. It describes Audrey’s courage during her seven days in jail, and her joy when segregation laws were repealed.  The text includes what a child would remember – the favorite foods, missing school for the march, how it was to sleep in a cold jail cell – juxtaposed with the cruel reality of segregation. Using warm, bright colors and collage, the illustrator captures the feel of a 1960’s childhood and perfectly complements the text. This excellent treatment of the March delivers the grim facts of segregation while supplying the gratifying outcome of activism to right wrongs, and in a way children can understand.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Pair this with Coles’s The Story of Ruby Bridges to talk about children during the Civil Rights Movement.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Non fiction 323 or biography

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: February 24, 2017

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