Tag Archives: Civil Rights

MARCH: Book One honoured in 2014’s Corretta Scott King Book Awards

Left: Coretta Scott King Book Awards Symbol next to 2014 honourable mention, "MARCH: Book 1" by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and illustrator Nate Powell
Left: Coretta Scott King Book Awards Symbol next to 2014 honourable mention, “MARCH: Book 1” by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and illustrator Nate Powell

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honours his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.  The Awards were founded in 1969 at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

“MARCH: Book One”, an autobiographical graphic novel by former Civil Rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, tells the complex, often troubling, often inspiring, story of freedom fighters launching a movement in the U.S. South that would change the entire country. The book is co-authored by Andrew Aydin, a member of Congressman Lewis’ staff, and by veteran comic illustrator and storyteller, Nate Powell.

A full list of award winners is below.

 

2014 Author Award Winner

Rita Williams-Garcia, author of “P.S. Be Eleven” published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. In this spirited stand-alone sequel to “One Crazy Summer,” the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn after a summer spent with their mother in Oakland, California. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern thrive in the tumultuous era of the late 1960s, but Delphine is tasked by her mother to, “P.S. Be Eleven.”

Rita Williams-Garcia, the author of the Newbery Honor–winning novel “One Crazy Summer,”  also a winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, a National Book Award finalist, and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Residing in Jamaica, N.Y., she is on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

2014 Illustrator Award Winner

Bryan Collier, illustrator of “Knock knock: my dad’s dream for me” illustrated by Bryan Collier and published by Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group. In “Knock knock: my dad’s dream for me,” Bryan Collier brings to life Daniel Beaty’s powerful narrative of a son’s longing for his absent father. With his distinctive watercolor and collage technique, Collier captures the nuances of the urban setting and the son’s journey to manhood.

2014 John Steptoe Award for New Talent

Theodore Taylor III, illustrator of for “When the beat was born: DJ Kool Herc and the creation of hip hop” written by Laban Carrick Hill and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership .  Taylor’s stylish artwork shows young Clive Campbell’s transformation into the DJ who helped launch hip-hop in the early 70’s. Using retro cartoon-style illustrations rendered in a palette that emphasizes browns, greens, reds and greys he transforms words on a page into a rhythmic beat that brings the words alive.

2014 Author Honor

John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, authors of “March: Book One,” illustrated by Nate Powell, and published by Top Shelf Productions

Walter Dean Myers, authors of “Darius & Twig,” published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publisher

Nikki Grimes, author of “Words with Wings,” published by WordSong, an imprint of Highlights

2014 Illustrator Honor

Kadir Nelson, illustrator and author of “Nelson Mandela,” published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards seal images and award names are solely and exclusively owned by the American Library Association.

Review of “MARCH: Book One”

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Title: MARCH: Book One
Creators: John Lewis, Andrew Aykin, and Nate Powell
Published: August 2013 by Top Shelf Press

March: Book One is the first part in a trilogy graphic memoir detailing the life and times of Civil Rights activist and Congressman John Lewis.

Growing up in the United States, you’re led to believe that you learn all there is to know about the Civil Rights Movement in school. You learn about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycotts; you learn about the most famous American speech of the 20th Century: “I Have a Dream”.

In a recent article shared through the Zinn Education Project, historian and black activist Bill Fletcher Jr. describes the method by which certain moments and people in the Civil Rights movement have been “mythologized” and “sanitized“. And boy, has our understanding of this history been manipulated! We would be led to believe that forces of the status quo in the 1950s and 1960s–from local police departments up to the President’s office–supported non-violent forms of protest; that racism and racists were isolated to the masses of simple folk in the South.

Of course, the result of this is that students are not understanding the context of these important pieces of history. That is why I’m hopeful of a book like March making its way into classrooms… students deserve a broader view of these issues than what will be allocated to them in 2 or 3 paragraphs of a standard-issue textbook.

As John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell so eloquently show us in March, this was not the case. The Civil Rights movement was a bloody, uphill battle. The struggle and its gains were not the results of a few actions by those now famous historical figures: the movement moved by way of thousands of committed activists, many of whom were students.

This is a truly beautiful comic book that paints a portrait not just of a man (John Lewis was one of the leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and is now a Congressman; he is also the last living person to have given a speech alongside Martin Luther King on Aug 28, 1963). It paints a vivid portrait of a movement that you think you know, but maybe, possibly, probably don’t. Why was non-violent civil disobedience so radical at the time? Why were there rifts between the younger activists and the older black leadership–figures like Thurgood Marshall? How was the Civil Rights movement connected to religious groups? To the labor movement?

Nate Powell has a way of making every picture personable–crisp, yet dreamy, with solid black ink brush strokes complimented by dabbles of watercolor staining. And Andrew Aydin, who works on Congressman John Lewis’ staff, has obviously been instrumental in taking the vast treasure trove of information that is John Lewis’ life experience, and organizing it into an epic memoir. I particularly like the stories that attest to his core character, like growing up on an old sharecropper farm, wanting to be a preacher and practicing his talks on his chickens. These are wonderful stories that bring out the humanity behind the political battles.

These are the stories from the Civil Rights Movement that, I believe, reclaim the history and restore its heart and soul. You can’t learn about a protest movement from a government-sanctioned textbook.. they’ll make you think the whole thing was their idea. And although Congressman Lewis is now a part of that system, well… how he got there will be explained in the next two books of the trilogy.

I’m excited about what I’ve seen so far–this is an often raw, ugly–yet true history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. To get a glimpse of this, I’ve asked the kind folks at Top Shelf to show you the first five pages of March. I hope you see what I mean–and be sure to pick up a copy when you get the chance!

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