Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Civil Rights activist Andrew Young, brings a child’s unique perspective to an important chapter in America’s history. Paula grew up in the deep south, in a world where whites had and blacks did not. With an activist father and a community of leaders surrounding her, including Uncle Martin (Martin Luther King), Paula watched and listened to the struggles, eventually joining with her family—and thousands of others—in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.
Poignant, moving, and hopeful, this is an intimate look at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement.
In her debut picture book, Shelton, a daughter of Andrew Young (activist, politician, and former U.N. ambassador), taps into her memories and those of her father, two older sisters, and others to offer a child's perspective of “the family of the civil rights movement.” She recalls her parents, native Southerners, moving their family from New York to Georgia to help combat erupting racial violence (“At first, I thought Jim Crow was a big black crow/ that squawked whenever a black person/ tried to get a good seat”). Shelton smoothly threads together personal anecdotes: being turned away from a restaurant; listening from under the table as her parents, Martin Luther King Jr., and other activists gather (“With everyone trying to talk at once,/ I thought they sounded just like/ instruments tuning up before a concert”); and participating as a four-year-old in the Selma-Montgomery march. Colón's (As Good as Anybody) soft-focus art features his customarily rich textural backdrop of speckles, scratches, and waves. Both contributors evoke the drama and emotion of the times (while avoiding the violence) and a triumphal sense of community and family. Ages 4–8. (Dec.)