Back in 2016 I made a commitment to read more diversely. I am happy to report that I continue to honor this commitment, and will continue to do so moving forward. Throughout the year I read books by black authors, HOWEVER for Black History Month I wanted to take it a step farther and read books that had some historical context. For Black History Month 2018, I decided to read books that centered around the Civil Rights Movement.
» March: Book One, March: Book Two, & March: Book Tree by John Lewis
- What a wonderful way to present such an important part of U.S. history! I’m so happy John Lewis decided to tell this story in graphic novel form – a great way to appeal to the younger readers.
- Do not worry if you haven’t read a graphic novel before or that it is a YA reading level – These books are great for readers of YA to adult. I probably would not recommend to anyone younger than 14 due to some minor graphic content: violence & language.
- Nate Powell really made this memoir come to life – the illustrations are very powerful.
- I’m embarrassed to say that before reading this series, I only knew the key events in the Civil Rights Movement, but never in much depth. I’d obviously heard of key players like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcom X, etc, but I never knew about all the other important people and organizations who played such crucial roles in the movement. This series did an excellent job of shedding light to all the lesser known people, organizations, and events in the Civil Rights Movement.
- John Lewis, in my opinion, did a wonderful job of presenting the info in a fair way. He really did try and show both sides of any disagreements or differences of opinions
- Reading this graphic novel series made me realize that the education here in the U.S. (or at least my education) came up short in teaching about the Civil Rights Movement. This period of history deserves more attention.
- The fact that these events took place 50 – 60 years ago boggles my mind. In some ways we have come so far, but we have not come far enough.
» March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals
- Melba Pattillo Beals is known as being one of the “Little Rock Nine” – 9 black students that enrolled in an all-white school in 1957. The enrollment of these students was a test to the Supreme Court Decision in Brown v. Board of Education that ruled segregation in schools was unconstitutional.
- Apparently this book is marketed as a middle grade book, but it felt more YA to me. I feel there are events included that are too sensitive for a MG reader. I would say this book would be more suitable for those 13+ unless they are a mature reader *highlight between arrows to see content warning ⇒ there is a scene where a lynching in a church takes place, and another scene where Melba shares her abduction by the KKK where it is implied women are being raped & killed – there are no graphic details, but things are implied ⇐
- This book is Melba’s autobiography of her life BEFORE becoming one of The Little Rock Nine. Melba details what it was like growing up in racial turmoil.
- I really felt for Melba’s struggle to hide her true self in order to fit in with her peers – unfortunately most people in her life wanted to keep their heads down instead of fighting for what was right. I could definitely sympathize with her frustration.
- I am now very interested in reading her other book that accounts more about being part of the Little Rock Nine – Warriors Don’t Cry
Which books did you read in honor of Black History Month?
Do you have any books that you’d recommend I add to my TBR that center around the Civil Rights Movement?
Comment below & let me know!