Jun 22, 2013
We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
Whenever I think about how civil rights was (and still is) such a controversy, it blows my mind. Reading this book was nothing different. Levinson covers the basics of the civil rights movement - MLK Jr., Rosa Parks, the KKK - but focuses on the lives of the children and teens who risked so much to make a statement and push for the rights they knew they rightfully deserved. To explain the history, she highlights the experiences of four particular children: Audrey Faye Hendricks, Washington Booker III, James W. Stewart and Arnetta Streeter.
Levinson relied on personal interviews with her subjects, along with other written records of the events. I love how she explains how witnesses and participants memories can change over time and how it was necessary to do extra research to make sure the facts aligned (i.e. no shortcuts kids, do your work). She also mentions that despite living through the civil rights movement and teaching history, she didn't know about the children's march until she was an adult. I didn't know about it either, which really stresses the importance of incorporating these nonfiction narratives into students' education - unfortunately, textbooks can't cover it all.
My only complaint is that I think the book could benefit from more pictures to further explain the history and also to break up the endless text and ease the reading experience. Despite the great narrative flow to the information, children and teen readers can often get bogged down with large amounts of reading, especially nonfiction.
P.S. My last book in the 2013 Hub Challenge! Woo!!