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Review of We March

We MarchWe March
by Shane W. Evans; 
illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp.
1/12    978-1-59643-539-1    $16.99

Many young children know there was a march on Washington a long time ago and that Martin Luther King Jr. gave a famous speech that day. Some know why the march took place; fewer still know how it happened. Using a minimalist text (no more than ten words per page) as he employed in Underground (rev. 1/11), Evans covers the last two points. The how-we-march thread is the strongest and most understandable to very young listeners and readers. A mother and father rouse their two children from bed, leave their house, pray at their local church, make signs, board a bus, march on the Mall, and listen to Dr. King speak at the Lincoln Memorial. Small touches, such as the father tying his son’s shoes and the mother buttoning her daughter’s sweater (the march began on an unseasonably cool morning), clearly anchor the story within the experiences of a small child. Quietly dramatic full-bleed, double-page illustrations bring context to the simple text. “We work together,” for example, captions the local church members making signs. The book begins with a family of four; the number of marchers increases page by page, deliberately showing the power of the larger community to make its voice heard. An author’s note, aimed at an older audience, fills in details of the march on Washington and the civil rights movement.

From the January/February 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Betty Carter

Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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