Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall

A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  Robert Casilla 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Holiday House, 1999   ISBN: 978-0823415069

Thurgood Marshall was the son of a waiter, and the grandson of a freed slave who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Thurgood’s father William liked to sit in the visitor’s gallery at the court house to watch trials, and he was the first African American to serve on a grand jury in the city of Baltimore. Sometimes William took Thurgood with him, and he always encouraged Thurgood and his brother to “debate and prove whatever they said.” He also taught his sons to be proud of who they were and encouraged them not tolerate racism.

Thurgood lived at a time when African Americans and whites were kept apart in public places. Laws made this “separate but equal” situation legal, but many people, including Thurgood, thought that it was an unacceptable state of affairs. Thurgood, like so many other young African Americans, peacefully demonstrated against segregation, and soon after he got his law degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., Thurgood went to work for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.) This job gave him the ability to start fighting against segregation in earnest.

Once again David Adler has written a wonderful picture book biography that will help young readers to understand and appreciate the life of one of America’s great people. With an engaging text that does not talk down to his audience, David Adler paints a meaningful picture of the past.

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