Wallace, Rich & Wallace, Sandra Neil. Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights. Calkins Creek, 2016. $18.95. ISBN 9781629790947. 352 pgs. Ages 12+. P7Q9
Blood Brother is an outstanding biography of a figure in the civil rights movement that many of us have never heard of. The book is packed full of primary source materials (photos, drawings, posters, handwritten notes) that make the already interesting story even richer. The authors have done solid, thorough research on the life of this interesting man. The book begins with Daniels’ childhood and college life, and shows how his awareness of inequality and racism developed. During his time in seminary, training to become an episcopal priest, he became increasing alarmed about the racial turmoil in the country, and his heart led him to join John Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama. There, he became deeply involved in the protest movement and in the lives of local people, and began to really understand the devastating effect of systematic racism and poverty. On August 20, 1965, during a day of protest, Daniels was gunned down while shielding 17 year old black activist Ruby Sales. It was a Booklist Editor’s Choice, received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and was a Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Book Award Honor Book.
VERDICT: This is an excellent addition to a young adult or higher level juvenile nonfiction collection. Lower level readers will find the large font size and plentiful illustrations helpful, and more proficient readers will be carried along with the clean, strong writing.
March 2017 review by Carol Schramm.