As we close out Black History Month (with all its problematic aspects) John Lewis’ book March: Book One is a great way to begin a journey through the history of the civil rights movement in the South. This first book in a three book graphic novel trilogy begins to tell of Representative Lewis’ journey from his childhood sharecropper’s farm through his segregated school years and through the meeting with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that changed his life. Through his autobiographical storytelling, Rep. Lewis provides a human face and a personal perspective to the events of the eras before and after the Civil Rights Movement.
I have to admit that I am not a big fan of graphic novels, but Rep. Lewis’ story pulled me in and the graphics add to the feel of the story, providing texture and depth. I also know that it is a format that appeals to young adults (my daughters only read graphic novels for many years….) and it is a wonderful way to teach in a format that helps them learn.
Far too often, books about the history of the Civil Rights movement in America (especially those for children) begin with Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on the bus. March: Book One adds details about the everyday violence and harms that African Americans experienced in the decades prior. This depth of context is what makes March: Book One such a rich narrative.
March: Book Two was recently published with very positive reviews. I look forward to reading it!