March: Book One

by John Lewis

Other authorsNate Powell (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2013

Call number

GRAPH N LEW

Collection

Genres

Series

Publication

Top Shelf Productions (2013), Edition: 1st, 128 pages

Description

This graphic novel trilogy is a first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book one spans Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Book two takes place after the Nashville sit-in campaign. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington D.C., and from receiving beatings from state troopers, to receiving the Medal of Freedom awarded to him by Barack Obama, the first African-American president.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member kidzdoc
John Lewis (1940-) is the only surviving member of the Old Guard of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, the others being Martin Luther King, Jr. (chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)), James Farmer (founder of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE)), A.
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Philip Randolph (head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and influential labor union leader), Roy Porter (executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1955-1977), and Whitney Young (executive director of the National Urban League from 1961-1971). He, like my mother, was born in Troy, Alabama, and he graduated from the American Baptist Theological Seminary and Fisk University, both in Nashville, Tennessee. He was an active participant in the Nashville Student Movement, whose sit-ins, nonviolent protests, and subsequent arrests led to the desegregation of that city's public lunch counters and other public facilities. Lewis was one of Dr. King's most trusted advisers during the 1960s, and he was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington in 1963. He was seriously injured on March 7, 1965, "Bloody Sunday", when dozens of participants in the Selma to Montgomery March in Alabama were brutally beaten by state and county police officers as they left Selma, but he made a full recovery and contributed to be an active participant and leader in the Movement.

Since 1987, Lewis has been the Representative for Georgia's Fifth Congressional Distinct, which covers most of the city of Atlanta, where I live, and its immediate suburbs.

March: Book 1 is the first of a trilogy of graphic novels about the life of John Lewis, which begins on the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States in 2009. Lewis tells the story of his life to an African American mother and her two young sons who visit his office in Washington, starting with his childhood on a farm in Pike County, Alabama, and ending on "Bloody Sunday".

Lewis recounts his love of preaching the Gospel, first to the chickens on his family farm who fell under his care and love, and later to his congregation as a teenager. He describes the tenets of nonviolence, and recalls some of the key members of the early years of the Movement, including Jim Lawson, the divinity professor at Vanderbilt University who served as an advisor to the Nashville Student Movement. The simple but powerful black and white illustrations are perfectly complemented by similarly crafted text, which makes this book a good choice for older children and adolescents, as well as adults, and it is available in printed and electronic versions. This was an excellent effort by John Lewis, his co-author Andrew Aydin, and illustrator Nate Powell, and I look forward to reading the next two novels in the trilogy soon.
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LibraryThing member thelibraryladies
John Lewis, noted Civil Rights Activist and Georgia Congressman, can now add another fabulous moniker to his name: National Book Award Winner. On November 16th, 2016, he won the National Book Award (in the Young Readers category) for his book “March: Book 3”, the conclusion to his
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autobiographical graphic novel series about his time during the Civil Rights Movement. I caught his acceptance speech, and like many other people, cried deeply because I was so happy for him, and it clearly meant so so much on so many levels. By total coincidence, I had just read “March: Book 2” that morning. It had been awhile since I read “Book 1”, and was playing catch up. So then all I had to do was wait for “Book 3” to come in, vowing that once it did I was going to review the entire work as a whole. Because that’s what the “March” Trilogy is: it’s one large story about a remarkable man during a tumultuous time, a story about a movement that changed the nation and a movement that seems all the more relevant today. So I waited. And “Book 3” finally came in for me. So now, let me tell you about this fabulous series.

“March: Book 1” starts with Lewis’s childhood as the son of a sharecropper in rural Alabama and goes through the Lunch Counter Protests in Nashville. From a young age Lewis had a drive and a passion to lead and learn, his early aspirations of being a preacher evolving into the leadership and commitment that he put forth while in the Nashville Student Movement, and then into the broader Civil Rights Movement as a whole. “March: Book 2” talks about his time with the Freedom Riders and the violence they faced during their non violent protests and demonstrations, all leading up to the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. This book deals more with the growing aggression of the white citizens and government, as well as the Federal Government starting to waffle and teeter and struggle with the role that it should be playing. It’s also the book that shows Lewis and his own inner struggles, as while non violence is always the mission and the goal, his resentment and anger threatens to boil over. “March: Book 3” is the conclusion, and addresses Freedom Summer, Voting Rights, and Selma. And this story is told all within the frame of the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Stunning framework, absolutely beautiful. There are multiple parallels between things in “Book 1” that come up again in “Book 3”, and there are themes that link all of them together not just with Lewis, but with other prominent figures as well. Lewis sets out to tell all of their stories as best he can, and the result is one of the best damn graphic novel series I have ever read.

This series is so powerful and personal, and it goes to show just how remarkable John Lewis is. He’s one of the ‘Big Six’, aka one of the most influential members of the Civil Rights Movement, and one of the only ones left, as he reminds us in “Book 1”. These books are very straight forward and simple, but they are so honest and personal that the power they have is immense. I found myself crying many times during my reads of all these books, but also laughing, and cheering, and seething. Lewis brought out so many emotions in me with his story, and his immense talent as a storyteller comes through, just as his charisma does. We get to see the story of the Civil Rights Movement through his eyes, and he tells us the stories of those involved within the movement and those who influenced it from the outside as well. Yes, at times these books are violent, and upsetting, but they need to be, because the horrors that fell upon many people during their non violent protests must never be forgotten. I think that the entirety is an accomplishment, but I understand why they gave the National Book Award to “Book 3”. After all, while it is probably symbolic of awarding the whole darn thing, I think that “Book 3” was the most powerful in terms of emotion being served, be it pride, fear, rage, or determination. It certainly was the one that had me weeping from the get go, as the very first moment was the bombing of the 16th Baptist Church that killed four little girls. The violence is absolutely horrifying, but it cannot be forgotten or glossed over. It absolutely cannot. “March: Book 3” also was the one to really address the differences of ideologies within the movement as a whole, not just between King and X, but Lewis and SNCC as well. And Lewis also has no qualms addressing the fact that LBJ, while he did ultimately get things going on a Federal level, was incredibly reluctant to do much in terms of help until he absolutely HAD to. I think that realities get lost in the historical narratives that come in our educations, and that is absolutely why the “March” Trilogy is fundamental reading when it comes to the Civil Rights Movement in this country.

And, like other graphic novels before it, I want to address the artwork in this series. Because it is beautiful in it’s simplicity, and yet powerful in it’s design. It’s all black and white, and stark and striking on every page. Nate Powell brings the story to life on the page, and he did it both with bits of humor to go along with the hope, horror, and courage. There were bits of realism to accompany the distinct style, but it always felt very tangible and very authentic. As I mentioned before, the illustrations do not gloss over the violence that was prevalent during the time, and while it certainly is disturbing, it’s done in a way that could never be dismissed as exploitative or ‘over the top’. It is incredibly honest and upsetting, but it needs to be. The reader needs to be upset and outraged by it. Because it IS upsetting, and it is outrageous.

I cannot stress enough how important the “March”Trilogy is in these uncertain and scary times. John Lewis is a treasure and an inspiration, and I feel that this is required reading. Get this in schools, get this in curriculums, get this in peoples hands. And you, you should likewise go out and get your hands on this series. You will not regret it. You will learn something. And you will be moved. Thank you, John Lewis. Thank you for so much.
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LibraryThing member zzshupinga
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
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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. The illustrations are masterful and you can imagine the smoke being blown in your face, someone standing over you and spitting upon you, and others throwing water or hot coffee in your face. It’s a powerful image that you won’t be able to shake. And one that you won’t be able too, or want to forget.

One of the problem that I normally see with autobiographical stories, is that they often try to give the reader to much information or even sometimes not enough information. They forget that we aren’t all familiar with the history of an individual. But this book doesn’t suffer any such problem. We move expertly between past and present, as John Lewis gives a tour to children from his district and explains his past. It’s a great way to set up the story. And more importantly you don’t ever feel like you’re missing out on something.

Nate Powell’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous. It’s done in his typical grace/style of capturing the human form oh so perfectly and it seems like this time he’s gone even further in his use of shading to give us the beauty of all different types of skin tones, each character’s is unique. His artwork is perfectly suited for this story capturing the range and intensity of emotions--the sorrow, the joy, and the fear that sends chills down your spine. That intensity, that feeling of life that he captures in their faces really makes them come alive.

You can’t help but feel moved by this story and you can’t walk away unchanged. The combination of story and art works perfectly in capturing this event and this time period. I’m predicting this book will be one of the best graphic novels of the year, perhaps even one of the best books of the year. I started recommending it to my faculty as soon as I heard about it. And one that I can’t wait for them to teach from. I give the book 5 out of 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member Crazymamie
I had not heard of this GN before seeing it mentioned on Dejah's thread. It is a memoir of John Lewis, a US Congressman who is a hero of the Civil Rights Movement. I wish I had this beautiful book in my hands when teaching this part of American history to my children. It is just so well done - the
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words and the illustrations work together to convey a powerful and inspiring part of our history. Every time I read about this it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. In a country where the original documents that created the base of a government that still stands proclaim the equality of men and the right to pursue happiness, it boggles the mind (not to mention the heart and the soul) that citizens of that country had to fight and to demand that they be given what their country had promised them. I mean the whole point of America was to escape persecution, right? Ha! Sadly, we're still working on that.

This book starts with Lewis' childhood and a trip that was life-changing for him. His uncle drives him from Pike County, Alabama to Buffalo, New York. He was amazed not just by the differences between a country farm and a big city, but also by the opportunity and the courtesy that was available there - to just be able to go into the store and buy what you want, black and white people living next door to one another... It started him thinking...Then he gets to hear a Martin Luther King, Jr. give a sermon on the radio, and Lewis shares that this sermon was like a "bolt of lightning" to him.

We follow him as he finishes high school and enters college just as the Civil Rights Movement is heating up - the murder of the teenaged Emmett Till, who dared to flirt with a white woman, Rosa Park's refusal to sit at the back of the bus, the Montgomery bus boycott. After hearing Jim Lawson speak about how non-violent tactics such as the Montgomery bus boycott can be applied all over the South, Lewis actively steps into the movement. This part of the book is especially moving, as the volunteers train to take whatever is dished out to them and not respond with violence.

I just cannot say enough about the beauty of this book - it's story and it's message, it's artwork, how it seamlessly transitions from 2009 back to the key points of Lewis' memory. This is just the first book of a planned trilogy; the second book was released in January of this year. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member mamzel
This is an outstanding depiction of the civil rights movement from the viewpoint of Congressman John Lewis. On his way to Obama's inauguration, Congressman Lewis meets a young man and tells him the story of the fight to desegregate the South. The reader meets all of the major players of this long
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and painful fight.
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LibraryThing member Shelby08
Great for learning about historical figures.
LibraryThing member LibrarianMaven
A powerful, moving graphic novel that brings the Civil Rights movement to life. Highly recommended for all libraries.
LibraryThing member OBridget1
I saw this book on my library's e-books/download website and thought it was interesting so I borrowed it.

It is a graphic novel about the Civil Rights movement and what John Lewis dealt with as a child and college student....He is talking to a mom and her two kids about this part of history.

I
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really did enjoy reading it and having pictures to go along with it. I am not a big graphic novel or comic fan, but from time to time, I will find one that I will pick up and read (I think this is my 2nd or 3rd)...I will try to remember to look for the other books after this.

This is one book that I may try to find in a 'hard copy' in order to put it on my shelves.

If you or someone else you know like graphic novels, and want a little history thrown in....Then this is perfect....
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LibraryThing member nosajeel
A beautifully illustrated, beautifully told story of John Lewis from his birth to sharecroppers to the lunch counter sit-ins of Nashville--with his introduction to Martin Luther King in between. The story is narrated in flashbacks as John Lewis is in his House office on January 20th 2009 waiting to
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go the inauguration--specifically told to a family of awe-struck visitors. This is the first of three projected volumes and I am very much looking forward to the next two.
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LibraryThing member MsBridgetReads
I saw this book on my library's e-books/download website and thought it was interesting so I borrowed it.

It is a graphic novel about the Civil Rights movement and what John Lewis dealt with as a child and college student....He is talking to a mom and her two kids about this part of history.

I
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really did enjoy reading it and having pictures to go along with it. I am not a big graphic novel or comic fan, but from time to time, I will find one that I will pick up and read (I think this is my 2nd or 3rd)...I will try to remember to look for the other books after this.

This is one book that I may try to find in a 'hard copy' in order to put it on my shelves.

If you or someone else you know like graphic novels, and want a little history thrown in....Then this is perfect....
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LibraryThing member ewyatt
This graphic novel tells the early story of John Lewis during his growing up on a farm in the south to his college days and early exposure/involvement in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. I learned a great deal from this telling of his story.
At times the print in the graphic novel was
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small and hard to read - although that may be a function of my old eyes.
I look forward to continuing his story in the second installment.
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LibraryThing member auntmarge64
Book One in a trilogy of graphic books telling John Lewis' story as a Civil Rights leader. Very moving and educational, even for those of us who lived through the period.
LibraryThing member Debra_Armbruster
Excellent pictorial manifestation of the John Lewis' participation in the Civil Rights Movement.
LibraryThing member kivarson
John Lewis is a national treasure. This important work documents critical junctures in Civil Rights history through his eyes.
LibraryThing member EllsbethB
This is well done and I want to read book two. I would happily use this with my students. I think they would be engaged.
LibraryThing member uufnn
From the inside of the back cover of the book: "John Lewis is the U. S. Representative for Georgia's fifth congressional district and an American icon widely known for his role in the civil rights movement. As a student. . .Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in
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Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. He was beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police. . .[but retained his belief in non-vioIence]. In 2011 he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Andrew Aydin, [co-author is[ an Atlanta native, currently serv[ing] as Digital Director & Policy Advisor to Rep. John Lewis. . .Previously, he served as communications director and press secretary during Lewis' 2008 and 2010 campaigns, as district aide to Rep. John Larson, and as special assistant to Connecticut Lt. Governor Kevin Sullivan. Nate Powell is a New York Times best-selling grphic novelist born in Little Rock, Arkansas. . .[He is a winner of the Eisner Award and Ignatz Award, and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. National Public Radio's reviewer said of this work: "An astonishingly accomplished graphic memoir that brings to life a vivid portrait of the civil right era, Lewis' extraordinary history and accomplishments, and the movement he helped lead. . .Its power, accessibility and artistry destine it for awards, and a well-deserved place at the pinnacle of the comics canon." Indeed, NPR foresaw the honors coming to March Book One for it has been named A Coretta Scott King Honor Book, has received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award--Special Recognition and more. President Bill Clinton may have summed it up with this statement: "Congressman John Lewis has been a resounding moral voice in the quest for equality for more than 50 years, and I'm so pleased that he is sharing his memories of the Civil Rights Movement with America's young leaders. In March, he brings a whole new generation with him across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, from a past of clenched fists into a future of outstretched hands."
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LibraryThing member NeedMoreShelves
This was just so well done. I think it's hard to truly explain to young people the importance of what ordinary people have done in the name of freedom and justice. If there were more books like this, that would become easier. This story is so simply told, yet so powerful in it's impact. I'm not
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sure I've read anything before that allowed me in to the events of the civil rights movement with such immediacy. Because the illustrations were right there, in actual black and white, this story became more than just a story - it became a life, of someone who was just a regular kid who dreamed of something better. Highest recommendation.
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LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Illustrated by Nate Powell

This is a graphic novel depiction of Lewis’s memoir of coming-of-age during the 1960s and the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on him, and on the country.

What he has to say about that period of history and his role in the events (especially the sit-ins in Nashville
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and the march on Selma) is important. I can appreciate that doing so in this format (graphic novel) will bring his story to many more young people than relying on a strictly text autobiography / memoir.

That being said, I don’t like the format. At all. I find the very dark drawings difficult to make out and read.
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LibraryThing member mirikayla
I struggle sometimes with black and white graphic novel illustrations, but these are clear and easy to read. I wish I could read all three at once instead of having to do one at a time, but book two just came out last month and I can't find anything yet about when to expect book three. This is a
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great, detailed account of a brilliant period in our recent history.
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LibraryThing member Bodagirl
A clear, personal account of Congressman John Lewis's life from childhood in rural Alabama through the Nashville sit-ins of 1960 while he was a college student. The illustrations are honest, but not brutal, somehow conveying the violence of the times without being gruesome. I also like the frame of
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Lewis about to attend President Obama's inauguration and recounting his participation in the Civil Rights movement.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2016| Task 14: A book you can finish in a day
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LibraryThing member Narshkite
This is a wonderful little book for younger readers or those not well-versed in the civil rights movement activities in the American South in the 1950's and 60's. It is concise with powerful drawings, and tells a complicated story in a stripped down and very approachable way. This is a great
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introduction for young readers, grade school and middle (depending on maturity for those younger readers.) I am rating this based on the quality of the book, rather than my specific enjoyment. I did know this story well (including most of the things personal to John Lewis since I have heard him speak many many times and consider him amongst my very few heroes) and I am not a huge fan of graphic texts, so I am not the target audience.
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LibraryThing member BridgetsBookNook
I saw this book on my library's e-books/download website and thought it was interesting so I borrowed it.

It is a graphic novel about the Civil Rights movement and what John Lewis dealt with as a child and college student....He is talking to a mom and her two kids about this part of history.

I
Show More
really did enjoy reading it and having pictures to go along with it. I am not a big graphic novel or comic fan, but from time to time, I will find one that I will pick up and read (I think this is my 2nd or 3rd)...I will try to remember to look for the other books after this.

This is one book that I may try to find in a 'hard copy' in order to put it on my shelves.

If you or someone else you know like graphic novels, and want a little history thrown in....Then this is perfect....
Show Less
LibraryThing member Tanya-dogearedcopy
The first book of John Lewis' graphic novel memoir recounts his life from the time he was six-years old living on a small farm (preaching to chickens!) to the early days of the Cilvil Rights Movement. B&W ink-wash panels illustrate the non-violent protests (e.g. sit-ins, boycotts) that rocked the
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U.S. in the 1960s; and are framed as a recollection as the now-Congressman heads out to receive his Medal of Freedom. Powerful, but only a part of the story (need the other two books in the set for the whole arc.)
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
There is no way to not give this book a 5 star rating, wonderfully laid out, illustrated and portrayed; this moving graphic novel adaptation of Senator John Lewis' life and involvement in the Civil Rights movement should be required reading. Not just for teens or kids, but adults too. Starting with
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his early life and going up through the lunch counter protests, book one shows how John Lewis got his feet wet in the movement and started to become a figurehead in it. I can't wait to read the next two in this graphic novel trilogy. This book will never not be relevant.
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
Much detail has been packed into the March trilogy. My review is about all three books. Reading just one is like reading the third of the way through a book. It’s not a simple overview of the Civil Rights Movement and Representative John Lewis’ part in it. It is the passionate story of Lewis
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determination to find freedom for his segregated brothers and sisters. At times I was a little confused about what was happening, but if I studied the graphics as well as the text, it made sense. I am impressed with how the creative writing team made this book both an intimate story of Lewis and an epic story of American History. This would be a great addition to any high school study of civil rights.
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Pages

128

ISBN

1603093001 / 9781603093002

Lexile

L
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