We March
We March
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Shane W. Evans
ISBN 9781596435391
Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, 2012.
5 stars
Keywords: black-history family freedom march-washington martin-luther-king shane-evans we-march

We March
by Shane W. Evans

Shane W. Evans (Underground) uses minimal text and powerful images to help your children experience an historic moment firsthand. He begins on the morning of August 28, 1963, and allows young people to witness the events through the lens of one family. Just before sunrise, a boy and girl and their parents get dressed and ready for the day. The family gathers with others at their church to board busses, and as the Washington Monument rises up, we discover this is no ordinary day. The brother and sister along with their parents and 250,000 others move together as one in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Evans unspools the action with impeccable pacing. The barest glow in the sky and a light in a window set the stage. Inside that lighted room, a father and mother wake their son and daughter. Evans takes his first step back from the family with a spread of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arm in arm with several other men, under the words “We follow our leaders.” Your children may clearly spot the family behind them in the crowd (“We walk together”).

Evans’ technique of zooming in on the family and then pulling back to reveal the vast crowd serves as a kind of drumbeat that builds to a thrilling climax. The final two images of the boy and Dr. King mirror each other, and suggest a transference of power, not just from Dr. King to the child, but also from the child to Dr. King. A gorgeous reimagining of a momentous day’s small moments.

This review originally appeared on Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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