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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.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist
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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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
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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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.