Readers can decide whether, were they in Audrey’s shoes, they would make the same dangerous decision.
Nine-year-old Audrey and her mother are happily preparing a meal for their special guest, whom they call Mike—otherwise known as Martin Luther King Jr. It is this environment that helps her decide to march in Birmingham in May 1963 and get arrested—all to fight segregation peacefully. The adults are too fearful to march, so Audrey proudly volunteers to join other children and go to “j-a-a-il!” Her parents and her grandparents support her decision, and so, to the sounds of civil rights–era music, she is arrested. The time behind bars is unpleasant, but the cells soon fill up. Audrey comes home after seven days to her favorite food: “hot rolls, baptized in butter.” Eating at an integrated lunch counter follows. Levinson, who wrote for older readers in We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March (2012), here carefully tailors her text to a level suitable for a younger audience. Newton’s digital illustrations burst with color against a white background. Audrey smiles and looks fearful, as appropriate. A double-page spread of her in a jail cell, all in gray, is especially effective.
A vivid reminder that it took a community to fight segregation and the community responded. (author’s note, timeline, recipe, sources) (Informational picture book. 7-10)