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The African American Journey

by Suzanne Slade & illustrated by Colin Bootman

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8075-1204-3
Publisher: Whitman

When work was begun on the Lincoln Memorial in 1914, no one could have imagined the history that would later unfold at the site. Slade uses the Memorial to create a brief series of snapshots of African-American history, beginning with the background that connects Abraham Lincoln to African-Americans. She moves on to Marian Anderson's legendary performance and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington and culminates with the inauguration of Barack Obama. Each moment is narrated in the present tense, providing sensory details to evoke atmosphere and just enough background to create meaning for the audience. Bootman’s illustrations clearly portray the emotions—fear, determination, joy—of the people present at each moment. The final two-page spread of the First Family viewing the Memorial is especially moving. Readers will find in this introduction a good overview and a solid base on which to continue building their knowledge of not only African-American history but the history of the United States. Thumbnail biographies of other changemakers and a timeline follow the text. (Informational picture book. 5-8)