A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
Critically acclaimed author Jabari Asim and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis give readers a fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis.
John wants to be a preacher when he grows up--a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm's flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice.
Celebrating ingenuity and dreaming big, this inspirational story, featuring Jabari Asim's stirring prose and E. B. Lewis's stunning, light-filled impressionistic watercolor paintings, includes an author's note about John Lewis, who grew up to be a member of the Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and demonstrator on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. John Lewis is now a Georgia congressman, who is still an activist today, recently holding a sit-in on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol to try to force a vote on gun violence. His March: Book Three recently won the National Book Award, as well as the American Library Association's Coretta Scott King Author Award, Printz Award, and Sibert Award.
Asim (Fifty Cents and a Dream) draws on an anecdote from congressman John Lewis's 1998 memoir, Walking with the Wind, as he recounts the story of the future civil rights activist tending to a flock of chickens, both physically and--in a way--spiritually. On the Alabama farm of his childhood, Lewis was in charge of the chickens; inspired by church ministers, Lewis would preach to the birds, which "swayed to the rhythm of his voice." E.B. Lewis (The First Step) stages the scenes under the bright springtime light of Alabama mornings, giving a full sense of John Lewis's world, from the dusty henhouse to the sturdy wooden pews of his family's church, while always emphasizing the tender care he devoted to the chickens. It's a moving portrait of the power of small actions and "learn to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves." Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary. (Oct.)Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 2-5--Luminous artwork and stirring text shed light on the childhood of one of America's most respected civil rights leaders. Young John Lewis found his calling early in life, tenderly caring for the many chickens on the family farm and emulating his church's ministers by preaching to the attentive hens: "'Blessed are the peacemakers, ' he'd say when [the chickens] fought over their morning meal. 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, ' he would tell a hen who didn't want to share, 'for they shall be satisfied.'" The future Freedom Rider and U.S. congressman would even baptize newly hatched chicks. When a local businessman stopped by the farm to make a trade for one of Lewis's hens, the bighearted boy sagely figured out a way to make a transaction without handing over one of his beloved chickens. Lewis's strong faith and his deep connection to his family and community shine through in Asim's straightforward text and illustrator E.B. Lewis's full-page, light-dappled watercolors. An author's note briefly discusses Lewis's leadership in the March on Washington and other key events of the civil rights movement and explains that Asim based the story on Lewis's own recollections. VERDICT A quietly powerful and joyful look at the childhood of a living legend and a superb introduction to studying heroes of the civil rights era.--Kiera Parrott, School Library JournalCopyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.