Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Let the Children March

Let the Children March

Monica Clark-Robinson
Illustrator:  Frank Morrison 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2018   ISBN: 978-0544704527

1963 was a big year for the people who were a part of the Civil Rights Movement. In January the Governor of Alabama announced that he was going to make sure that segregation stayed in place “now,” “tomorrow” and “forever.” In response the first sit ins and a peaceful protest took place in April. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many of his supporters were arrested for participating in the protest.

One spring evening families gathered at a local church not to attend a service but to hear Dr. King speak, and to talk about what they should do next. Dr. King wanted to “raise an army of peaceful protesters to fight for freedom,” but many people, including Momma and Daddy, were worried that they would lose their jobs if they participated. Their two children decided to speak up. They did not have a boss or a job to worry about. They could march this time and they could be “Dr. King’s army.”

Dr. King worried about letting children take such a step, but he felt that they should be allowed to fight for their freedom and their future; and so on the second of May the brother and sister, and many other girls and boys, marched from the church down the street. They carried placards and sang songs and bravely kept walking, even though angry faces in the crowds frightened them. The police threaten to send them to jail.

On the two days that follow the children were met with high pressure hoses and police dogs. Many of them were taken to jail, including the girl. She and the other children and teens were forced into crowded cells. Though they were afraid they sang songs and did not give up hope that their sacrifice would make a difference and bring about change for the better.

Adults are forever telling children that they are too small and too young to do this or that. Often they are right, but sometimes they are not. In this powerful picture book we read about the children who participated in the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The children were threatened, attacked, and jailed, but for seven days they marched. The world began to notice what they were doing and how they were being treated, and in the end the white leaders of the city were forced to begin the process of desegregation.

This beautifully written book not only tells the story of an important time in world history, it also shows children that they have the means to make their world a better place if they really want to.