This glimpse into the experiences of John Lewis will inspire readers of all ages. It begins with his life as the son of a sharecropper in Alabama during the 1940s and ends with the desegregation of lunch counters in Nashville the spring of 1960. Congressman Lewis's path from his parents' farm to the American Baptist Theological Seminary is depicted in the black and white illustrations by Nate Powell. Choices that led John Lewis to his involvement in the nonviolent protests include the trip north with his uncle to spend the summer in Buffalo, his mother learning of the seminary that he could attend, hearing a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio, and other important milestones. The violence and bigotry of those opposed to desegregation are clearly shown; the name-calling, tear gas, beatings, and arrests are all here. Those scenes that take place in the congressman's office during current times underscore what a difference there is between the two eras.
As a teacher and librarian I really appreciate the Teacher's Guide provided by Top Shelf to accompany the graphic novel. Background information about Congressman John Lewis and his role in the Civil Rights movement is provided, along with a brief note from the Congressman himself. A page is dedicated to standards alignment with Common Core as well as the key themes identified by the National Council for the Social Studies. Although this book is recommended for students in grades 6 - 12, there is still an advisory note about the use of historically accurate racist language within the story. There are discussion questions suggested for before, during, and after reading. Student worksheets cover point of view and a timeline graphic organizer. Notes about differentiated instruction with the book include ideas for below-level readers and ELL students. A final page offers a list of online resources.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It was published on August 13, 2013.