From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3–6—Wells was born into slavery in 1862 in Mississippi. Myers follows her remarkable life from raising her siblings after the death of her parents, to her rise to national fame as a writer and speaker who worked tirelessly on behalf of African Americans and suffrage, and against the horrors of lynching. Throughout the book, her words, taken mostly from her autobiography, The Crusade for Justice
, are highlighted in bold text and emphasize her strength of character and commitment to justice: "I'd rather go down in history as one lone Negro who dared to tell the government that it has done a dastardly thing than to save my skin by taking back what I have said." Readers will learn that long before Rosa Parks made history on a Montgomery bus, Wells refused to move from the ladies' coach on a train, was forcibly removed, then sued the railroad. Christensen's detailed and historically accurate watercolor illustrations bring the story of this amazingly accomplished and courageous woman to life. An important and inspiring book.—Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
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This picture-book biography covers basic information about Wells’ life: her birth in slavery in 1862; her outstanding ability as a student; and her work as a teacher, journalist, and crusader. Myers’ masterful text is well matched by Christensen’s somber watercolor illustrations: neither soft-pedals the injustice and cruelty to African Americans. Wells’ stand against lynching and the peril in which that put her are covered, but there are no graphic scenes in the illustrations. The explanations of some complex topics, such as suffrage, are seamlessly woven into the narrative, while others—for instance, segregation—are not. What will come across to young readers, however, is how she helped make America a better place. Quotes from Wells’ autobiography are placed throughout, and a time line of the major aspects of her life is included. A fine introduction. Grades 2-4. --Randall Enos