Thursday, October 05, 2006

Freedom Walkers

Fabulous nonfiction by Mr. Freedman. I know this story, but remember it as most schoolchildren do: "....Rosa Parks...Martin Luther King, Jr....." Freedman makes the walkers the heroes here, and shows how the grassroots movement created the figures we remember. He also sets the boycott within an historical context making it clearly a milestone, but within a longer journey that is not yet over. All this in a narrative that reads so smoothly you think someone's reading it to you. Nice big type, good white space and photos: very approachable and welcoming, the book itself an inviting and comfortable space, which it must be for such a story. I had to stay up late to finish because who can sleep through it? It made me cry: with horror and joy, humility and pride.

(Now, to put some emotional distance between myself and the story. Gushing does nothing at a Newbery discussion. If I can show you how Freedman achieves this reaction through his text, and persuade you that it will do so for its intended audience: that's a winner. To work.)


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