In moving verse, Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis gives new voice to seventeen heroes of civil rights. Exquisitely illustrated by five extraordinary artists, this commanding collection of poems invites the reader to hear in each verse the thunder that lies in every voice, no matter how small. Featuring civil rights luminaries Coretta Scott King, Harvey Milk, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Sylvia Mendez, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mamie Carthan Till, Helen Zia, Josh Gibson, Dennis James Banks, Mitsuye Endo, Ellison Onizuka, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Yunus, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.
Poet Laureate Lewis casts a wide net in these stirring poems about civil rights, which highlight figures as multifarious as Gandhi and Harvey Milk, and are illustrated by five artists. The graceful and distinctive paintings offer visual homages to each subject. Milk speaks punctiliously ("They say I came before my time/ but who else would redress/ unmitigated suffering due/ to such small-mindedness?"), while Mitsuye Endo, a Japanese-American woman interned during WWII, speaks with humble defiance: "I was a typist, nothing more./ I loved my life, I hated war." Children's books on the subject of civil rights can sometimes result in a generic roundup of instrumental leaders; Lewis's surprising and welcome integration of lesser-known individuals provides a holistic and enlightening look at an always pertinent topic. Ages 8 12.