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March: Book One Paperback – August 13, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–Beginning with a dream sequence that depicts the police crackdown on the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March, this memoir then cuts to Congressman John Lewis's preparations on the day of President Obama's inauguration. Lewis provides perspective on the occasion, explaining and describing his own religious and desegregationalist origins in Alabama, his early meeting with Dr. King, and his training as a nonviolent protester. The bulk of the narrative centers around the lunch counter sit-ins in 1959 and 1960 and ends on the hopeful note of a public statement by Nashville Mayor West. The narration feels very much like a fascinating firsthand anecdote and, despite a plethora of personal details and unfamiliar names, it never drags. Even with the contemporary perspective, the events never feel like a foregone conclusion, making the stakes significant and the work important. The narration particularly emphasizes the nonviolent aspect of the movement and the labor involved in maintaining that ideal. The artwork is full of lush blacks and liquid brushstrokes and features both small period details and vast, sweeping vistas that evoke both the reality of the setting and the importance of the events. This is superb visual storytelling that establishes a convincing, definitive record of a key eyewitness to significant social change, and that leaves readers demanding the second volume.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NHα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Congressman Lewis, with Michael D’Orso’s assistance, told his story most impressively in Walking with the Wind (1998). Fortunately, it’s such a good story—a sharecropper’s son rises to eminence by prosecuting the cause of his people—that it bears retelling, especially in this graphic novel by Lewis, his aide Aydin, and Powell, one of the finest American comics artists going. After a kicker set on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965 (the civil rights movement’s Bloody Sunday), the story makes January 20, 2009 (President Obama’s inauguration) a base of operations as it samples Lewis’ past via his reminiscences for two schoolboys and their mother, who’ve shown up early at his office on that milestone day for African Americans. This first of three volumes of Lewis’ story brings him from boyhood on the farm, where he doted over the chickens and dreamed of being a preacher, through high school to college, when he met nonviolent activists who showed him a means of undermining segregation—to begin with, at the department-store lunch counters of Nashville. Powell is at his dazzling best throughout, changing angle-of-regard from panel to panel while lighting each with appropriate drama. The kineticism of his art rivals that of the most exuberant DC and Marvel adventure comics—and in black-and-white only, yet! Books Two and Three may not surpass Book One, but what a grand work they’ll complete. --Ray Olson
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions; First Edition edition (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603093001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603093002
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Andy Shuping on August 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
Every so often a book will come along that will challenge you, that will make you think, and that will hopefully leave you a bit better after you've read it. And this is just one such book. Yes that seems weird to say about a graphic novel, but trust me...this one deserves such praise. This is a book that everyone should read, and then reread again. And then pass on to others to read. This is a part of history that we should not let die, remember, and honor those that created it.

Congressman John Lewis is an iconic figure within the Civil Rights movement, and the last surviving member of the "big six leadership." He rose from being the son of sharecropper, to marching with Martin Luther King, and to the halls of Congress. This first book in a planned trilogy covers John Lewis's youth in rural Alabama, his first meeting with Martin Luther King, the birth of the Nashville Student movement, and the battle for desegregation on the steps of City Hall. And it comes to an end all to quickly. I finished the book saying "but, but...I want more! I need the rest of the story now!" And that's such a great way to leave readers, clamoring for the next part of the story. It's a powerful and moving story to see a firsthand account of the triumphs and sorrows of being involved in this time period in history.

Now I'm sure the first question many are asking is...why a graphic novel? Couldn't this be done in written form and come out just as well. And the answer would be...no. It's one thing to read about the horrors or having water tossed on you, or being beaten, all because of the color of your skin. It's a completely different matter to see it illustrated.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kuoyu Liang on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
The fantastic artwork by Nate Powell really stands out in this entertaining story about a critical chapter in the Civil Rights movement. I liked how the authors used President Obama's inauguration as a framing device to tell a story that happened more than 50 years ago. The switch back to modern times helps to remind us how far we have come, and how life was so much different before the Civil Rights movement. The story of how a group of young people using sit-in at lunch counters as peaceful protest is dramatic, and especially compelling was the part where the students would practice getting humiliated, in anticipation of what will be done to them. A very good read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. McCoy on October 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
March Book One is the graphic novel adaptation of the life of Congressman John Lewis, who was involved in the heart of the Civil Rights movement. The story starts with his participation in the Edmund Pettus bridge crossing, but this first book doesn't finish that story. That is saved for later works.

The framing story is the inauguration of President Obama in 2009, which is so fitting for the story. A couple young boys meet the congressman and he tells them the beginnings of his story. His thirst for knowledge, life under segregation and how he came to meet Martin Luther King, Jr.

A good chunk of the story is about the lunch counter sit-ins in Nashville. How John and others were trained to be non-violent and peacefully make their point. How they protested over and over again, and how they were able to change things. It's a powerful story, and the black and white art by Nate Powell serves the story well. John Lewis received a comic book called Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story which really impacted him, and he wanted his story to be told in this format to be accessible by new generations. Very well told.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Fitz on September 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am glad to add this book to my library. I teach art to high school students and cannot wait to share this book when we do graphic novels in class. In addition, we can use this book as we talk about public school funding inequities that are happening right now in our school and all over our country. Students can see that one person can make a difference. Because it is autobiographical and about the civil rights movement, it fits perfectly within the Common Core. The pictures are well done and the story moves. I learned about John Lewis, who as a young man, joined the non-violent movement and made a real difference in changes in our country. I literally could not put it down until it was finished. I look forward to the next books in the series.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Benefiel on August 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Lewis and his talented collaborators earn my admiration. Just days before we gather to remember the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, on the National Mall, on Sat., Aug. 24, 2013, they remind us that years of fear and suffering, as well as faithful leadership of a community, were at stake. The well-reported events are here, and the quiet dedication of mothers, sisters, uncles, and faith leaders, too. John Lewis transforms himself into an approachable - not a pedestal-standing icon - by revealing his Bible lessons for his hens, as well as his avoiding farm chores to sneak off to school. Framing this narrative as a story told on Jan. 20, 2009, as "We, The People" gathered on a bitterly cold Washington, D.C., day to write a new chapter, added perspective. I read this as a Kindle edition on my iPad.
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