Reviews for We March

Booklist Reviews 2012 January #1
As he did in Underground (2011), Evans distills a critical moment in the fight for racial equality--the 1963 March on Washington--into tight, evocative prose, well calibrated for a very young audience. A boy, a girl, and their parents wake at dawn, prepare, travel, and join a march "to justice, to freedom, to our dreams." The text itself, but 57 words, tells the story in a clear first-person-plural voice that begins with the young family and soon encompasses the entire assembly. The simplicity of the narrative is matched by Evans' square, substantial, sunlit paintings, which--with wheelchairs, yarmulkes, and all manner of skin tone--are especially inclusive. The illustrations also depict recognizable faces (Mathew Ahmann, Floyd McKissick, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cleveland Robinson) and iconic landmarks on the National Mall, and conclude with Dr. King delivering the "I Have a Dream" speech with the words "Free at last!" This makes a pivotal event in our nation's history accessible to our youngest citizens without compromising any of its power. An afterword concludes. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
A mother and father rouse their children from bed, pray at their local church, board a bus, march on the Mall, and listen to Dr. King speak at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. Small touches clearly anchor the story within the experiences of a child, while quietly dramatic full-bleed, double-page illustrations bring context to the minimalist text.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #1
Many young children know there was a march on Washington a long time ago and that Martin Luther King Jr. gave a famous speech that day. Some know why the march took place; fewer still know how it happened. Using a minimalist text (no more than ten words per page) as he employed in Underground (rev. 1/11), Evans covers the last two points. The how-we-march thread is the strongest and most understandable to very young listeners and readers. A mother and father rouse their two children from bed, leave their house, pray at their local church, make signs, board a bus, march on the Mall, and listen to Dr. King speak at the Lincoln Memorial. Small touches, such as the father tying his son's shoes and the mother buttoning her daughter's sweater (the march began on an unseasonably cool morning), clearly anchor the story within the experiences of a small child. Quietly dramatic full-bleed, double-page illustrations bring context to the simple text. "We work together," for example, captions the local church members making signs. The book begins with a family of four; the number of marchers increases page by page, deliberately showing the power of the larger community to make its voice heard. An author's note, aimed at an older audience, fills in details of the march on Washington and the civil rights movement. betty carter

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #1
An African-American family awakens before dawn to prepare for the historic March on Washington in August, 1963. In this stirring companion to Underground (2011), Evans captures a pivotal event in the struggle for equality and civil rights in America. The family joins neighbors to pray at their church, paint signs and travel by bus to Washington. They walk and sing and grow tired but "are filled with hope" as they stand together at the Washington Monument to listen to Dr. King speak of dreams and freedom. With just one line per page, Evans' text is spare but forceful. The March has become synonymous with Dr. King's grandiloquent speech, but Evans reminds readers that ordinary folk were his determined and courageous audience. The full-page paintings depict a rainbow of people holding hands and striding purposefully. One illustration in particular, of the father holding his son high on his shoulders, echoes a painting in Underground, in which a father holds his newborn child high up toward the sky. The strong vertical lines used for the arms of the marchers mirror the intensity of the day. Share with readers of all ages as a beautiful message about peaceful protest and purposeful action. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 November #4

Written in the same spare style as Evans's Underground, this account of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom--identified only in a concluding note--drives home the emotion and the drama of that event. Brief, blunt sentences propel the narrative and place readers on the scene: "We follow our leaders. We walk together. We sing." Evans spotlights a family of four, first pictured rising with the sun and creating placards with their church congregation. Buses bring them to the Washington Monument, where they join others in the march that culminates in Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Though the day unfolds through the family's perspective, what emerges is a communal voice that conveys a strong sense of solidarity and purpose ("We lean on each other as we march to justice, to freedom, to our dreams"). Similarly minimalist, Evans's art features angular characters whose expressions capture their passion and commitment. Evans's predominantly cool palette is warmed by the diffuse light of the sun, which appears in full blaze behind a closeup image of King. A moving introduction to a historic day. Ages 4-8. Agent: Writers House. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 January

PreS-Gr 3--It is the remarkable simplicity of this book that makes it so outstanding. The members of an African-American family rise and set off to church to pray and then take part in a march for freedom. But this is not just any march; it is the historic March on Washington in 1963. Readers follow this family as Evans's palette shifts from morning grays and blues to lighter and more hopeful hues of yellow and bright green as Dr. King delivers his magnificent "I Have a Dream" speech. The contrast between the conciseness of the writing and the grandness of the story gives the book a powerful punch. Young readers will now have a book celebrating the March on Washington that they can read, while older readers will be drawn to the beauty of this well-told and superbly rendered book. A must for every collection.--Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

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