Celebrity biographer Kelley offers an account of the 1963 March on Washington, paired to the images of acclaimed photojournalist Tretick.
This was a critically important event in the civil right movement, but the book fails to capture its energy and significance. The narrative seesaws between florid (“Martin did not give up. He blew the trumpet of hope”) and dull (“It was the largest assembly ever gathered at the feet of Lincoln, and the gathering was joyful”), resulting in an informative but not particularly inspiring read. In an afterword, Kelley explains her impetus for writing the book was “to share the photographs of my friend Stanley Tretick…, so children can see not simply illustrations, but real-life images from the March on Washington.” Tretick’s images are indeed arresting, but the unimaginative, cluttered arrangements of the uncaptioned photographs make the book look more like a scrapbook than a historical chronicle of a landmark event. Descriptions of some photos are appended, but young readers will not know to look there. There are no source notes or bibliography, but a few websites are cited for those seeking further information. This subject is more engagingly and insightfully addressed in numerous other age-appropriate books.
A bland, undistinguished photo essay of a milestone event in American history. (Informational picture book. 7-10)