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Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 Hardcover – July 14, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Lillian may be old, but it's Voting Day, and she's going to vote. As she climbs the hill (both metaphorical and literal) to the courthouse, she sees her family's history and the history of the fight for voting rights unfold before her, from her great-great-grandparents being sold as slaves to the three marches across Selma's famous bridge. Winter writes in a well-pitched, oral language style ("my, but that hill is steep"), and the vocabulary, sentence structure, and font make the book well-suited both for independent reading and for sharing aloud. The illustrations, though, are what truly distinguish this offering. Lillian is portrayed in resolute left-to-right motion, and her present-day, bright red dress contrasts with the faded greens, blues, and grays of the past, sometimes in a direct overlay. A bright yellow sun, which readers may recognize from Evans's illustrations in Charles R. Smith Jr.'s 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World (Roaring Brook, 2015), symbolizes hope as it travels across the sky. The story concludes on an emphatic note, with a close-up of Lillian's hand on the ballot lever. An author's note provides historical context, including information about the woman who inspired Lillian (Lillian Allen, who in 2008 at age 100 voted for Barack Obama), and ends by reminding readers that protecting voting rights is still an ongoing issue. VERDICT A powerful historical picture book.—Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ
"Moving.... Stirs up a potent mixture of grief, anger, and pride at the history of black people’s fight for access to the ballot box." —The New York Times
“A much-needed picture book that will enlighten a new generation about battles won and a timely call to uphold these victories in the present.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The illustrations… are what truly distinguish this offering… A powerful historical picture book.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Simple yet powerful, Lillian’s narrative transforms a complex topic into an affecting story suitable for a younger audience, making it a perfect introduction to voting and civil rights. An important book that will give you goose bumps.” —Booklist, starred review
"“Winter's prose has a lofty, oratorical quality...skillfully blending Lillian's individual path to the voting booth with the historical context that made it possible...A valuable introduction to and overview of the civil rights movement.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
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Age Range: 5 - 9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (July 14, 2015)
This is such a beautifully illustrated book for Kindergarten - 4th grade and even older kids. It is Voting Day and Lillian is an old African American woman who has been alive for a hundred years. She is walking up hill to the Voting building. Along the way she sees her ancestors and the hardships they endured to have voting rights in America. From slavery to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Lillain will take you through the ages with her ancestors and herself to finally be able to vote at the hall. The hardships they endured are remarkable as a race and people. This book will illustrate the hardships yet have a childhood innocence that won't bother children to read. My children and I will re-read this book as a celebration and a piece of history that they will understand the hardships and what a privilege it is to vote in America. I love this book and can't describe how remarkable this book is.
Amazon Book Description~~
An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America’s battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman’s fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.
"A much-needed picture book that will enlighten a new generation about battles won and a timely call to uphold these victories in the present." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
The framing device is the titular Lillian, a 100-year-old woman who reminisces on the importance and power of the vote, and on the fights she has seen for civil rights. It's a rather true-to-live story, and is in fact inspired by a 100-year-old woman who was interviewed during the 2008 presidential election.
This is a perfect book in the coming months, both in your classroom and at home. It won't be quite so topical immediately following, though, so perhaps this is best as a library borrow, and not a purchase, unless your child has shown a great interest in politics.
But Lillian's story is all-too-relevant for another reason, arriving as it does amid legislative efforts to limit access to the polls. Children know unfairness when they see it, and Winter and Evans' book serves as a meaningful opportunity to discuss with them the ebb and flow of history -- the ways in which social gains, if not appreciated with a sense of vigilance, can be followed by the erosion of hard-won rights.
*I received this for review - all opinions are my own*