Reviews for We've Got a Job : The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1
*Starred Review* Even with the many fine books out there about the role of young people in the civil rights era, this highly readable photo-essay will hold YA readers with its focus on four young people who participated in the Birmingham Children's March, setting their stories against the big picture of the fight against segregation and the roles of adults. At nine, Audrey Hendricks was the youngest of almost 4,000 black children who marched, protested, and sang their way to jail, and she had the support of her church, teachers, and middle-class parents. Washington Booker lived in poverty in the projects; for him the police were the ultimate terror. Smart, academic James Stewart chose not to do sit-ins, but marching felt right. Arnetta Streeter went to young activists' training. Important adult leaders on all sides are included in the story, from Martin Luther King Jr. and the Reverend Shuttlesworth to Bull Connor, and Levinson points out not only the individuals with extreme viewpoints but also the "moderates" who kept quiet about the insulting "separate but equal" policies. The format will hook readers with spacious type, boxed quotes, and large black-and-white photos on almost every double-page spread, from the horrifying view of the Klan marching with children to the young protestors waiting to be arrested. A fascinating look at a rarely covered event for both curriculum and personal interest. Chapter notes, a time line, and a bibliography conclude. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Levinson does a superb job demonstrating just how difficult it was for the leaders of the civil rights movement to create a movement at all. When adults didn't take to the streets in great enough numbers, children volunteered. The narrative focuses on four young African Americans; clear and lively writing, well-chosen photos, and thorough documentation make this a fine chronicle of the era. Bib., ind.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #3
Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 was a "dismally segregated" place, from lunch counters, parks, and department-store dressing rooms to public schools. The civil rights movement led by Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy, and Martin Luther King Jr. intended to change all of that. Focusing on four young African Americans but never losing sight of the overall struggle, Levinson does a superb job of taking readers inside the movement, demonstrating just how difficult it was for the leaders to create a movement at all. Many blacks questioned nonviolence as a tactic, and many feared for their jobs. Adults didn't take to the streets in great enough numbers, so children had to: with young minister James Bevel as their Pied Piper, young people turned out in great numbers, intending to get arrested, fill the jails, and cripple the city. Their actions inspired adults, but when police responded with hoses, dogs, and billy clubs, nonviolence was a difficult promise to keep, as Levinson effectively shows. Clear and lively writing, well-chosen photographs, and thorough documentation make this a fine chronicle of the civil rights era. Though it lacks the tight narrative focus and the stunning photographs of Elizabeth Partridge's Marching for Freedom (rev. 11/09), both volumes show that, som[Fri Apr 29 10:09:41 2016] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. etimes, children can change the world. dean schneider Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #1
Triumph and tragedy in 1963 "Bombingham," as children and teens pick up the flagging Civil Rights movement and give it a swift kick in the pants. Levinson builds her dramatic account around the experiences of four young arrestees—including a 9-year-old, two teenage activists trained in nonviolent methods and a high-school dropout who was anything but nonviolent. She opens by mapping out the segregated society of Birmingham and the internal conflicts and low levels of adult participation that threatened to bring the planned jail-filling marches dubbed "Project C" (for "confrontation"), and by extension the entire civil-rights campaign in the South, to a standstill. Until, that is, a mass exodus from the city's black high schools (plainly motivated, at least at first, almost as much by the chance to get out of school as by any social cause) at the beginning of May put thousands of young people on the streets and in the way of police dogs, fire hoses and other abuses before a national audience. The author takes her inspiring tale of courage in the face of both irrational racial hatred and adult foot-dragging (on both sides) through the ensuing riots and the electrifying September bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, then brings later lives of her central participants up to date. A moving record of young people rising at a pivotal historical moment, based on original interviews and archival research as well as published sources. (photos, timeline, endnotes, multimedia resource lists) (Nonfiction. 11-15) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #1

This chronicle of a pivotal chapter of the civil rights movement weaves together the stories of four black children in Birmingham, Ala., who were among some 4,000 who boycotted school to participate in a march to protest segregation. Before recounting that event, during which almost 2,500 young people were arrested and jailed, first-time author Levinson opens with intimate profiles of the four spotlighted children (drawn from interviews she conducted with each of them), along with descriptions of Birmingham's racist laws, corrupt politicians, antiblack sentiment--and activists' efforts to fight all of the above. Readers also get an up-close view of such leaders as Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights; Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated a nonviolent response; and James Bevel, a preacher who rallied the city's children and teens. Yet the most compelling component is Levinson's dramatic re-creation of the courageous children's crusade and the change it helped bring about in the face of widespread prejudice and brutality. Powerful period photos and topical sidebars heighten the story's impact. Ages 10-up. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 May

Gr 7 Up--This photo-essay stands out for its engrossing content, excellent composition, and riveting use of primary-source material. Covering the history of the Birmingham Children's March from inception to full impact, Levinson traces the stories of four young people between the ages of 9 and 15 in 1963. Audrey Hendricks, Washington Booker III, Arnetta Streeter, and James Stewart came from very different segments of the city's black community, but all risked their lives and spent time in jail to fight for their freedom. Tracing their different routes to activism and melding it beautifully into the larger history of race relations in Birmingham and in the American South, the author creates a multidimensional picture of the times and the forces at work. Interviews with the four principals, one of whom died in 2009, give the narrative power and immediacy. Reproductions of period photos, notices, and documents provide additional insight. The map of downtown Birmingham, with locations mentioned in the text delineated, is a great help in placing both photos and text in a landscape. With a helpful list of abbreviations, excellent source notes, photo credits, a fine bibliography, and a comprehensive index, this a great research source, but it's also just plain thought-provoking reading about a time that was both sobering and stirring. Recommended for middle and high school library collections to stand together with Charlayne Hunter-Gault's To the Mountaintop (Roaring Brook, 2012), Ann Bausum's Marching to the Mountaintop (National Geographic, 2012), and Larry Dane Brimner's Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor (Boyds Mills, 2011).--Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA

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