Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Marching For Freedom review

Book talk: The ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870 prohibited denying anyone the right to vote based on race, but in Alabama in 1965, they found enough ways to get around that amendment that even though half the population of Selma was black, 99 % of the voters were white.  In 1965 the people of Selma decided to make a stand by marching to protest the unfair voting practices.  The marchers were jailed, bombs were set off in the houses of the leaders, protesters were fired from their jobs, and the violence escalated leading up to what came to be known as Bloody Sunday.  On Sunday, March 7th protesters gathered to march to Montgomery.  Many of the protesters were children and teenagers who did not have jobs to lose.  Despite this fact the police released tear gas on the peaceful protesters and came at man, woman, and child with clubs swinging.   But trips to jail and even the hospital were not enough to stop them.  These children and teenagers would gather again, and this time they would make it all the way to Montgomery.

Rocks my socks: The story of how many children and teenagers were involved in these marches knowing the incredible violence that awaited them is absolutely amazing.  The book relies heavily on pictures taken during the events described and there's one on at least every other page.  This really helps to communicate the story visually and draw the reader in.  Partridge also uses excerpts from protest songs to tell the story, and I loved reading about the songs.

Rocks in my socks: I felt that the story could have been clearer at times.  A bit more background and context to the events would have been appreciated.  It seems that the story also tries to focus on several children and teens in particular to tell the story and in theory help teenage readers connect with it.  However, I didn't feel that enough time was taken to really establish who each of these people were and so I occasionally got a bit lost or confused when it referred to a specific person by name and I couldn't remember who that person was.  The pictures are lovely, but I wish there was a bit more text to support them.

Every book its reader:  I'd give this to grades 6 and up.  This would be a good book to use in class, but anyone with an interest in history of the period would enjoy it, and visual people in particular will enjoy the beautiful pictures.

Marching For Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge

Buy it at your local independent book store or check it out from your local library

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