VOICE OF FREEDOM: FANNIE LOU HAMER: THE SPIRIT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, Candlewick Press, 2015.Author Weatherford has written more than 35 books for children and young adults. This is the first picture-book for fine artist Holmes who also won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award.
Fannie Lou Hamer’s courage is legendary. It would take a strong pair of talents to introduce her to young readers. Weatherford brings the first person voice of Hamer to the page with an effective verse style that is her own poetic strength. Yet, her beautiful writing never gets in the way of the gritty, forward moving story. The emotion Holmes brings to each page turn pulls the reader deeper into a relationship with Hamer. The “little light” of Hamer’s goodness shines in both art and text.
TURNING 15 ON THE ROAD TO FREEDOM: MY STORY OF THE 1965 SELMA VOTING RIGHTS MARCH by Lynda Blackmon Lowery as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, illustrated by P. J. Loughran, Dial, 2015.While researching my own work in progress, I had the privilege of getting to know Mrs. Lowery. She was part of the struggle we learn about on Martin Luther King Day. She and her family lived inside the Civil Rights Movement. Authors Leacock and Buckley give her appreciable space to tell about the events that shaped her life.
Any teacher or librarian building a program for Black History Month or hoping to impress writing students about the importance of primary resources would benefit from inviting Mrs. Lowery into their classrooms. She was “there.”
Black History Month is days away. Here are two books to put front and center for any display. What’s in your library?