Reading Wednesday

Read last weekend:

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, illustrated by PJ Loughran, designed by Mina Chung. I’m including the designer because it’s a beautifully laid-out book, 121 pages with generous space around the text, and a mix of photos and illustrations:

print in warm gold and brown tones - an African American girl with eyes closed, sitting on a flowered couch with an older African American woman who strokes her forehead. Text is

The first sentence of the book is, “By the time I was fifteen years old, I had been in jail nine times.” The last sentence is “Who has the right to vote is still being decided today.” And in between, it’s like sitting and listening to an older relative lay out what happened in Selma and Montgomery, but also drop incidental details like what food the kids put in their pockets to eat while sitting in jail, or how it rained hard on day three of the march and everyone got these little orange ponchos to wear.

The book gets across how many children and teenagers were active in the movement, going to sit-ins and marches (and jail) because the adults would lose their jobs if they did those things. It shows some of the trauma– a section at the back commemorates Jimmie Lee Jackson, Viola Liuzzo, and others– and the determination, excitement, and organization too. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.