Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, November 15, 2013

March: Book One by John Lewis

March: Book One
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin; Illustrated by Nate Powell
Top Shelf Publishing. 2013
ISBN: 9781603093002
Grades 8 and up
I borrowed a copy from my public library.

March is an autobiography told in graphic format about the life of Congressman John Lewis (GA-5). First in a planned trilogy, March chronicles Lewis’ childhood up to the early years of The Civil Rights Movement.

The book begins on January 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C., the day of Barak Obama’s inauguration. Congressman Lewis is in his office getting ready when a mother and her two young boys from Atlanta come in hoping to see John Lewis’ office.  As the boys ask questions about objects in his office, Congressman Lewis begins sharing about his life. 

Born to a sharecropper in Pike County, Alabama in 1940, John’s responsibility was to look after the chickens.  I never had any feelings about the other animals on the farm, but I was always drawn to the chickens.  When asked why he didn’t become a chicken farmer, Congressman replies, What I really wanted to be was a preacher.

Lewis was a freshman in high school when, in 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court handed its decision in the school desegregation case of Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka. That decision would change his life. He went from a student in a segregated classroom to attending a workshop in non-violence to staging peaceful sit-ins at all-white lunch counters.

Award-winning artist, Nate Powell, illustrates March. Done entirely in grayscale, Powell’s illustrations reflect many moods and emotions. The book has some humorous moments, as when we see a young Lewis ministering to his chickens. Yet the strength in this slim volume is that it provides readers with a highly accessible history of the Civil Rights Movement and the life of John Lewis, one of the movements most resounding voices for equality. 

March will definitely be on my Best of 2013 list.

Listen to the story of March: Book One on NPR.



  1. Great review, thanks for sharing it. I received a copy of this to read and review, but haven't gotten to it yet. I can only imagine how John Lewis must feel in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision dismantling the Voting Right's Act. But what a courageous admirable man.

  2. Isn't it a great book! I reviewed it a few weeks ago, and just now I edited my list of other blog reviews to include yours.

  3. That looks amazing! Love that it's a graphic novel format AND a biography AND about the Civil Rights Movement!!! Mia of PragmaticMom