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PREACHING TO THE CHICKENS by Jabari Asim Kirkus Star


by Jabari Asim ; illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-16856-7
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

A glimpse into the childhood whimsy of an important African-American congressman who has become famous for his words.

Long before John Lewis spoke to thousands during the civil rights movement, he honed his elocution skills by preaching to his 60 farmyard chickens. Knowing each one by name and habits, John protected his chickens from those who wanted to trade for them, rescued them when they fell into the well, and even once brought a nearly drowned chick back to life. Bringing a message of peace when the chickens bickered over food, John earned the nickname “Preacher” from his siblings. Illustrator Lewis’ signature watercolors paint a lively picture of John Lewis’ life growing up on a farm with a close and hardworking Christian family. The liveliness of the chickens as well as John’s concern and care for them shine in the light-dappled images. Given the seriousness of what Lewis faced on the march from Selma to Montgomery and the gravity of the issues he has dealt with throughout his career, this joy-inducing back story reveals an entertaining facet to the congressman’s life that young readers will appreciate.

After absorbing this must-read bit of personal history about John Lewis, young readers will never see this serious-faced congressman in quite the same way. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)