Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - The Youngest Marcher 1.04.17

(beautiful illustration credit to Sarah Brannan)

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

It seems strange to read about Civil Rights and know the story takes place in the 1960s, because it seems like this country is heading backwards instead of forwards.  Maybe if we pull out these stories more often and talk and talk and talk to this generation, maybe we'll see a change in our future.

The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson
The Youngest Marcher -
The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Right Activist
written by Cynthia Levinson
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
January 17, 2017

A book like this is one to share now.  This is the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest person to go to jail during the "Children's March" that took place in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama.  Audrey saw the civil unrest in her area.  She heard "Mike" (a.k.a. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - did you know that was his nickname?  I didn't!) talk about what wasn't fair and what was happening to people in her community, in her state, in the United States.  Audrey decided it was time to do something.  She wanted to help.

Levinson has crafted a wonderful story about being civically minded and active, even for young readers.  In a time when we need this generation to think about being leaders, to step up in roles they might not have thought about before, or do something even though it's hard, we have a book to share with students to help show them the way.

There is so much you can do with this book when you share it with students:
  • Be sure to take a look at the rich vocabulary.  Some of these words you'll want to take time and discuss with readers.  Words such as:  segregation, testimonies, unjust, picket, protest.  Other words/phrases are just fun, like "hot rolls baptized in butter."  Mmmmmmm.....
  • Talk about leadership at an early age.  Closely read the passage on pg. 6, "She had to make things right.  But what could she do?"
  • Kids tend to see things as right or wrong.  It's easy for them to say the laws aren't right.  But look at pg. 8 where Levinson writes, "No, best not break those segregation laws.  Boss man will fire me!  Landlord will evict me!  Policemen will beatI me."  Have a conversation about this.  Was it easy for African American to stand up and fight, even though the laws were wrong?
  • Examine the many causes and effects in the book.  For example:
         Audrey sees the injustices ---- she decides to go to jail
         She goes to jail ---- it's not as easy as she thinks it will be
  • Visit the back matter.  I really enjoyed how Levinson shared that much of this information came from Audrey herself.  How wonderful that Levinson was able to interview her before Audrey passed.  This particular story is given in greater detail in Levinson's book We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March.  And... a recipe for hot rolls baptized in butter!  Best back matter I've seen!
What a fantastic book to add to your collection.  I hope you pick up a copy on January 17th!


  1. I will look for it, Michele. Another story we've never been told! I enjoyed the suggestions for the book! Thanks!

  2. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I love books that profile unexpected heroes.

    1. Thank you, Annette. Let me know if you have any questions.

  3. Very excited for this one, Michele!! I love the cover, and Cynthia's book is one we need so much right now, more than ever!

  4. I'm excited for this one too! I loved Levinson's We've Got a Job, and I'm so glad to be able to share this important part of the Civil Rights movement with younger students.

  5. Thanks for sharing this one. I will definitely be reading more books like this and hopefully can transform readers into leaders!

    1. I love the phrase "transform readers into leaders!"