Child of the Civil Rights Movement + A Boy Named Beckoning: The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American Hero
Review: Shelton provides younger readers a picture book that entails the complexity of the Civil Rights Movement in a straight forward picture book written in a simple, clear way without dumbing it down. When the author was a child, her father, Andrew Young, was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Her first picture book beautifully recounts her childhood during those tumultuous times. Shelton explains her very first protest when she cried during a sit-in with her family as restaurant owners refused to seat them, which clearly demonstrates and sets the tone of the harmful effects of segregation. Shelton also recalls how the movement united its leaders and activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. became a part of her family that all strongly believed in the common goal of equality and justice. Despite the hardship faced by the activists during the Civil Rights Movement, the picture book retains its positive tone. The illustrator's choice of vibrant watercolors further emphasizes on the optimistic viewpoint. The picture book does a great job in bringing history to life. I also appreciated the author's note in which she explains that she doesn't remember all the details of various conversations but drew on her family's shared memories. Also included at the back of the book is information about the leaders who are mentioned in the picture book.
Curriculum Connection: Social Studies
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 1-3.
If you like this book try: March on! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris, We March by Shane W. Evans, Seeds of Freedom by Hester Bass
Review: I happened to stumble upon this book while browsing the children's collection at my public library. The title grabbed my attention right away as I never heard of Dr. Carlos Montezuma before. The author uses Montezuma's own words to tell his gripping story as a Yavapai boy who was captured by the Pima and sold into slavery in 1871, bought and raised by a kind Italian photographer, and grew up to become a prominent doctor and Native American spokesperson. Montezuma was a gifted learner and graduated from the University of Illinois at the age of 17. After becoming a doctor, Montezuma searched for his parents and siblings and learned the sad truth about their lives and deaths. He also spoke against the ill treatment, harsh living conditions, and prejudices against Native Americans by the U.S. government. A full-page author's note addresses "Dr. Montezuma-The Activist," including his "Let My People Go" speech to the U.S. Senate in 1916. I learned quite a lot from this book and after I finished it I had to do some research of my own because I was so captivated by this story. The illustrations are great and layered with actual photos combined with pictures that offer multiple perspectives and rich in gold and brown tones. The side panels on the page offers additional information and provides context to the story. This would be a good starting off point in looking into the complex and intricate relationship between Native Americans and the United States.
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: There is mention of slavery, violence, and death. Recommended for strong Grade 4 readers and up.
If you like this book try: Louis Sockalexis: Native American baseball pioneer by Bill Wise, Jim Thorpe's Bright Path by Joseph Bruchac, We are the Many by Doreen Rappaport,