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We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March (Jane Addams Award Book (Awards)) Hardcover – February 1, 2012
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STARRED REVIEW Even with the many fine books out there about the role of young people in the Civil Rights era, this highly
readable photo-essay will hold YA readers with its focus on four young people who participated in the
Birmingham Children s March, set against the big picture of the fight against segregation and the roles of
adults. At nine, Audrey Hendricks was the youngest of nearly 4000 black children who marched,
protested, and sang their way to jail, and she had the support of her church, teachers, and middle-class
parents. Washington Booker lived in poverty in the projects; for him the police were the ultimate terror.
Smart, academic James Stewart chose not to do sit-ins, but marching felt right. Arnetta Streeter went to
young activists training. Important adult leaders on all sides are included in the story, from Martin Luther
King, Jr. and the Reverend Shuttlesworth to Bull Connor, and Levinson points out not just the individuals
with extreme viewpoints, but also the moderates who kept quiet about the insulting separate but equal
policies. The format will hook readers with spacious type, boxed quotes, and large black-and-white photos
on almost every double-page spread, from the horrifying view of the Klan marching with children to the
young protestors waiting to be arrested. A fascinating look at a rarely covered event for both curriculum
and personal interest. Chapter notes, a timeline, and a bibliography conclude.
Hazel Rochman --Booklist
STARRED REVIEW This chronicle of a pivotal chapter of the civil rights movement weaves together the stories of four black children in Birmingham, Ala., who were among some 4,000 who boycotted school to participate in a march to protest segregation. Before recounting that event, during which almost 2,500 young people were arrested and jailed, first-time author Levinson opens with intimate profiles of the four spotlighted children (drawn from interviews she conducted with each of them), along with descriptions of Birmingham s racist laws, corrupt politicians, antiblack sentiment and activists efforts to fight all of the above. Readers also get an upclose view of such leaders as Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights; Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated a nonviolent response; and James Bevel, a preacher who rallied the city s children and teens. Yet the most compelling component is Levinson s dramatic recreation of the courageous children s crusade and the change it helped bring about in the face of widespread prejudice and brutality. Powerful period photos and topical sidebars heighten the story s impact. Ages 10 up. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Feb.) --Publishers Weekly
STARRED REVIEW The author takes her inspiring tale of courage in the face of both irrational racial hatred and adult foot-dragging (on both sides) through the ensuing riots and the electrifying September bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church...A moving record of young people rising at a pivotal historical moment, based on original interviews and archival research as well as published sources. --Kirkus
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2012 --Publishers Weekly
STARRED REVIEW Triumph and tragedy in 1963 Bombingham, as children and teens pick up the flagging Civil Rights movement and give it a swift kick in the pants.
Levinson builds her dramatic account around the experiences of four young arrestees including a 9-year-old, two teenage activists trained in nonviolent methods and a high-school dropout who was anything but nonviolent. She opens by mapping out the segregated society of Birmingham and the internal conflicts and low levels of adult participation that threatened to bring the planned jail-filling marches dubbed Project C (for confrontation ), and by extension the entire civil-rights campaign in the South, to a standstill. Until, that is, a mass exodus from the city s black high schools (plainly motivated, at least at first, almost as much by the chance to get out of school as by any social cause) at the beginning of May put thousands of young people on the streets and in the way of police dogs, fire hoses and other abuses before a national audience. The author takes her inspiring tale of courage in the face of both irrational racial hatred and adult foot-dragging (on both sides) through the ensuing riots and the electrifying September bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, then brings later lives of her central participants up to date.
A moving record of young people rising at a pivotal historical moment, based on original interviews and archival research as well as published sources. (photos, timeline, endnotes, multimedia resource lists) (Nonfiction. 11-15) --Kirkus
About the Author
Cynthia Y. Levinson holds degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and also attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, she has published articles in Appleseeds, Calliope, Cobblestone, Dig, Faces, and Odyssey.
Top customer reviews
By anchoring the events surrounding the 1963 Birmingham Children's March in the personal narratives of four of its direct participants, Levinson puts readers on the ground in Birmingham. We may know the final outcome, but we have no idea how we're ever going to get there, and this day-by-day account of the incremental progress--and setbacks--will keep readers turning the pages to find out what happened next. This is a nonfiction book with as much drama and pacing as THE HUNGER GAMES. I literally couldn't put it down, except for when I became too teary-eyed to continue reading, which happened often.
There is so much to love about this book, but I think my favorite thing about it is how Levinson humanizes everyone involved. It's not as much a movement or an event as it is individuals, each with his or her own motivations, working with or against each other. I loved reading that even the revered leaders (for both sides of the issue) were hardly ever in agreement. Everyone involved was taking a chance, a risk, a guess as to what was going to work--or not. They were all fighting for what they believed in, each in his or her own unique way. Nothing was simple. Nothing was clear.
I wholeheartedly think this book should be in every library, in every classroom, and in every home in America for its history as well as for its message for the future. Buy it, read it, recommend it, share it.
The book also includes a table of contents, author's note, timeline, map, acknowledgements, extensive source notes, bibliography (recommended resources), photo credits, and a detailed index. Levinson also has additional info, lesson plans, discussion questions, curriculum guides, and more on her website ([...]).
I think what makes this account so powerful is the sense of immediacy that Levinson has created. It felt like it was happening as I was reading about it rather than almost fifty years ago. It was amazing to read about the courage of the children who participate, ages 9 to 18 with a few adults mixed in. The story in the prologue starts the book off with a bang. The idea of a nine-year-old child telling her parents that she wants to go to jail hit me hard. The descriptions of hundreds of children crammed into jail cells meant to hold many fewer occupants was also full of impact. I think the part though that really got me was when fire hoses were turned on the marchers. Clearly, the author has done her research, but more than that, she has made it understandable for the young reader.
I highly, highly recommend this book for any reader who wants to see the power of unity or the power of children to make a difference. This would be a great book to use in teaching about civil rights or just plain courage.
Most recent customer reviews
We've Got A Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson isn't a must read at all. IT'S A HAVE TO READ!!!Read more