- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 820 (What's this?)
- Series: Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor (Awards)
- Hardcover: 56 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick (August 4, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0763665312
- ISBN-13: 978-0763665319
- Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.4 x 10.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor (Awards)) Hardcover – August 4, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement's most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured. For instance, in 1961, while she was having a small tumor removed, a doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent; at that time, Mississippi law allowed poor women to be sterilized without their knowledge. Hamer was in her 40s when young activists spoke at her church; until that point, she hadn't known that she could vote, and she volunteered to register. Though she faced threats and in 1963 was brutally beaten, she spent the rest of her life rallying others. Told in the first person from Hamer's own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist's perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes's beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots and her signature song, "This Little Light of Mine." Pair this title with Don Mitchell's The Freedom Summer Murders (Scholastic, 2014), which features a short chapter on Hamer, for a well-rounded look at this tumultuous, turbulent era. VERDICT Hamer's heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
A welcome addition to civil rights literature for children ... Hamer's determination, perseverance, and unwavering resolve come through on every page. Holmes' quiltlike collage illustrations emphasize the importance Hamer placed on community among African-Americans. Young readers who open this book with just a vague notion of who Fannie Lou Hamer was will wonder no more after absorbing this striking portrait of the singer and activist. Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Caldecott Honor winner Weatherford (Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, 2006) has rendered Hamer’s voice so precisely that it is like sitting at her knee as she tells her story. Holmes’ multimedia collages perfectly capture the essence of each poem. Like Hamer’s life, the illustrations are filled with light, texture, movement, and darkness. They are both abstract and realistic, brilliantly juxtaposing gentle floral motifs with protest placards and Fannie Lou Hamer’s face in bold relief. Ultimately, though this is Hamer’s story, it includes the collaborative struggles of others with whom she worked and fought for a different America. Bold, unapologetic, and beautiful.
—Booklist (starred review)
Told in the first person from Hamer’s own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist’s perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes’s beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots...Hamer’s heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Artist Holmes, in her children’s literature debut, elevates an already excellent narrative with richly colored collage illustrations that layer meaning upon meaning with scraps of historical photos, newsprint, maps, musical scores, and more...This majestic biography offers a detailed, intelligible overview of Hamer’s life while never losing the thread of her motivations, fears, and heroic triumphs, and places the civil rights movement in personal, local, national, and international contexts.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
In a series of poems in this biography, Weatherford traces the life of Fannie Lou Hamer from her childhood as the youngest of 20 children of sharecroppers in Mississippi to her social and political activism...The poems feature particular events in Hamer’s life and their implications, which provide readers with memorable, heart-wrenching details.
Consider this not only as an accessible biography but also as a piece for solo or duet performance.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
The combination of history, poetry, and brilliant watercolor illustrations makes this a picture book on the Civil Rights Movement that should not be missed.
—School Library Connection
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Pros: A powerful story about a poor, uneducated woman who was able to make a difference on a national level. The poetic text perfectly captures Hamer’s voice, and is complemented by the large, colorful illustrations.
Cons: There’s a lot of information here, and even older students may need some historical context to understand all of Hamer’s contributions.