Book review: The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton

Levinson, Cynthia. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist. Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 9781481800701. 40 pages. Ages 5-10. Includes a time line. P6 Q8

In 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks wants to go places like everyone else. However, because she is black, Audrey is not able to because of the segregation laws. This story follows her journey, from listening to Dr. Martin Luther King encourage his followers, “if a law is unjust, disobey it”, to going to jail. When the adults do not protest, Dr. Martin Luther encourages the children to fill the jail. Audrey is the youngest child to protest. She feels if she goes to jail, she will help make things right. Jail is harder than she thought. In the end, when the jail is full, Audrey feels proud of herself. She is in jail for seven days. Two months later, the City of Birmingham wiped segregation laws clean off the books. Audrey was able to go wherever she liked, “black and white were together, like they belonged”. The illustrations in this book are fun. During prayer, Audrey is opening one eye, looking at Dr. Martin Luther King, while her mom is opening one eye looking at Audrey. This book does a thorough job of showing specific injustices that black people endured. The book refers to Audrey’s favorite food, hot rolls baptized in butter. There is a recipe for the rolls at the end of the book.

Verdict: I enjoyed learning about Audrey Hendricks and her role in the Civil Rights Movement. I recommend this book for classrooms, elementary school, and public libraries. This book would be good to use during a Martin Luther King unit. This is a good book for teaching empathy.

March 2017 review by Tami Harris.

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