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Stories and Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

by Doreen Rappaport & illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-1927-2
Publisher: Candlewick

Following on the heels of No More! (2002) and Free at Last (2004) is the third in this striking trilogy documenting African-American history. Rappaport and Evans follow the pattern already established, presenting a conventional narration interwoven with present-tense accounts of individuals’ experiences, songs, and an occasional poem; the whole is stunningly illustrated with Evans’s monumental oils, which represent the incidents described in the text with almost iconic fervor. For all its strengths, however, this offering pales in comparison to the first two installments in the trilogy, perhaps because this era has been so relatively well-covered in other works for young people. The technique of “recreating” incidents from first-person accounts in particular has a tendency to fall flat—as these accounts are so readily available and powerful in their own right, one must question why so few activists are allowed to speak with their own voices. Rather than increasing the immediacy of the experience, as it did in the earlier volumes, it serves to distance the reader from people and events, which is a pity considering its beauty. (timeline, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)