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A SWEET SMELL OF ROSES by Angela Johnson


by Angela Johnson

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-83252-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Two children take part in a freedom march in the days of the civil-rights struggle in the south. Martin Luther King Jr. is there, inspiring them with his words and actions. But the marchers are mostly ordinary citizens, old and young, “walking our way to freedom.” Johnson carefully chooses simple, descriptive words and phrases that reach all the senses. The children listen to King’s words, feel the bright sunlight, and smell the flowers along the road, as more and more people join the march, singing and clapping. They pass the haters, screaming at them from the side of the road. At day’s end they return home, having played a small role in history. Velasquez’s illustrations are marvelous, perfectly complementing the text and giving the words an extra punch and impact. He draws them entirely in charcoal with just a touch of red to draw the eye to the teddy bear’s ribbon, the American flag, and the roses whose sweet smell accompanies the girls throughout the day. Powerful and moving. (Picture book. 6-10)