Turning Fifteen on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery is an engaging and accessible memoir. I knew that young people were involved starting very early on in the Civil Rights movement, but I was shocked to hear exactly to what degree. Teens put their beliefs out in in front and their lives on the line so that their parents could go to work and the marches could continue. In fact, Lowery was arrested nine times before the age of 15, and while her descriptions of the prison conditions are chilling, her perseverance is inspiring. This book is extremely accessible to all ages–from middle grade to adult readers, as Lowery’s writing style makes it seem as if one is sitting down to share a cup of tea with her and listening to her memories of those volatile times. Photographs and graphic-novel-style illustrations further add to the impact of the text, and the slim look and feel has the potential to draw in even the most reluctant of readers. This Sibert Medal Honor book has already touched the hearts and minds of many of my students and it is likely to have a lasting impact.
Interested in extending the conversation about this book?
- Time for Kids interview with the author
- NPR All Things Considered author interview (audio and transcript)
- MSNBC author interview (video)