March: Book 3 by John Lewis

Winner of the 2017 Michael L. Printz Award, the 2017 Coretta Scott King Author Award, the 2017 Sibert Medal, and several other awards, March: Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell is a monumental feat of storytelling that is a must-read. March: Book 3 is the final installment in a graphic novel trilogy that chronicles the Civil Rights Movement in the American South from the perspective of John Lewis. This book follows the Civil Rights Movement from the Selma to Montgomery march to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, chronicling the trials and tribulations the protestors faced during this time. Chock full of text, explanations, and history, March: Book 3 illustrates the human need for freedom and equality. At once deeply personal, as we see much from Lewis’s perspective, and highly detached as the broader frictions in the movement are revealed and the enormous struggle the movement overcame are presented.

While there are many moments of intense beauty and evidence of the power people have when they act as one, this story does not shy away from the brutality, rampant racism, and abuse that the protestors faced. Local law enforcement, politicians, judges, white citizens, and the KKK all commit heinous crimes and are protected by the local power structure.  It is difficult to read and see what the protesters went through, but it is a way of honoring their sacrifice and demonstrates the indomitable will displayed by those who participated in this undertaking. This story also chronicles the movement holistically so readers can see the incredible amount of work, coordination, consensus building, and networking were required to start and sustain this movement.

Drawn with black and white panels, this storytelling medium creates stark contrasts and visuals that magnify many situations and help each page deliver an emotional punch. A perfect balance between art and text that closes a stunning true story about the power of the human spirit and how to effect meaningful and long-lasting change in society. Recommended for ages 13 and up. 

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