Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall Reading 2016 She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero


There has been a big push lately for social studies classes to use primary sources when studying various events and individuals. Books such as She Stood for Freedom help to meet this demand by combining a narrative with images of historic photographs, newspaper headlines, informational flyers, and even diary entries. The narrative is broken into easily readable chunks, which all have headings to make it easy to find what the reader needs. The description of what Joan and her fellow Civil Rights workers endured as they staged sit-ins, freedom rides, and other demonstrations is clearly told without dwelling on morbid details. The combination of straightforward description and visual images makes a book that can be used with middle grades and up to support lessons on the Civil Rights Era. The book also has a Civil Rights Timeline and original artwork by Charlotta Janssen.

For those who have not heard of her, this is a wonderful introduction to the life and work of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. The book covers everything from her childhood in Virginia and trips to visit relatives in Georgia, to her time working for Civil Rights and her later marriage and career. There are photos of Joan as a child, as a young adult during demonstrations, and even a mug shot from her arrest as a Freedom Rider. I particularly like the closing section, "An Ordinary Hero." The explanation that Joan never saw herself as a hero, but only as someone doing the right thing is a great idea to leave young readers with as they finish the book. Her simple explanation, "When something is the right thing to do, DO IT! It's that simple," can be used a starting point for meaningful discussions.

Highly recommended for middle grades and up. I received an advance copy of the book for review purposes.

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