John Lewis in the Lead : A Story of the Civil Rights Movement
by Haskins, James; Benson, Kathleen; Andrews, Benny (ILT)

Presents the life and struggles of the Georgia Congressman and civil rights leader of the 1960s, focusing on his youth and culminating in the voter registration drives that sparked "Bloody Sunday." Reprint.

JIM HASKINS was the celebrated author of more than one hundred books, most on topics of African American history and achievement. His works received numerous honors, including the Coretta Scott King Author Award and the Carter G. Woodson Award. In 1994 Haskins was the recipient of the Washington Post Children's Book Guild Award for a body of work in nonfiction for young people. KATHLEEN BENSON is Curator of Community Projects at the Museum of the City of New York. With her late husband, Jim Haskins, Benson co-authored some twenty books for children, young adults, and adults. She lives in New York City.

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. ((Reviewed October 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

"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 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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