Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

March: Book Three

Lewis, John (Author)
Aydin, Andrew (Author)
Powell, Nate (Illustrator)
Top Shelf Productions 2016. 256 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781603094023 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Memoir

Text Elements:

conflict, evocative language, multimodal, panel arrangement, setting

Awards

National Book Award – 2016
Michael L. Printz Award – 2017
Robert F. Sibert Medal – 2017
Coretta Scott King Book Award – 2017
Walter Dean Myers Award – 2017

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This graphic memoir trilogy concludes as Congressman John Lewis and his fellow civil rights activists use non-violent protest techniques to draw federal attention to racist tactics preventing black citizens from registering to vote in southern USA. New experiences for John include a trip to several African nations and attendance at the 1964 democratic convention.

The story emphasizes the clear-eyed heroism needed to challenge the status quo—exemplified by the words of an instructor at activist training camp: “Five others [killed] this year. In some way, you have to come to terms with that.… If you’re going to do anything about it, other people are going to be killed.”

The graphic text format is excellent for aiding comprehension. High-contrast monochrome images convey emotions and symbolic meaning. In one panel, the narration describes political lobbying (“[President] Johnson’s people were working in back channels, twisting arms and calling in favors”) while the image shows a rotary phone-cord proliferating, strangling speech bubbles. (“You do want Humphrey on the ticket don’t you?”) A two-page spread shows the stadium-sized crowd of delegates at the democratic convention; the Mississippi Freedom Party stands isolated in a bright, blank space, their chairs having been removed as a pointed gesture of exclusion.

In the end, police violence on protesters turns the tide and the 1965 Voting Rights Act is passed. The thoughtful and moving finale fast-forwards to 2009, with the inauguration of a black president—and the start of a new project for Congressman Lewis: “‘I was thinking about that comic book idea’ … ‘People are gonna laugh at us’ … ‘It won’t be the first time, sonny boy.’”

  •  

    Major events in American civil rights history are conveyed through the language of graphic texts. Consider the way splash pages are used to emphasize significant moments such as the funeral of John F. Kennedy. Also notice the use of panel transitions, such as moment-to-moment transitions to slow down time.

  •  

    Discuss how colour (in this case, black and white) impacts the reading experience and adds to the meaning.

  •  Following reading and discussion, use a response process to respond to the text. Use references to the graphic memoir and make connections to other texts and/or world events.
  •  

    Think about important speeches by teachers, coaches and political leaders. In small teams, list elements that make for a great speech.

  •  

    Summarize what you learned about the African-American quest for the right to vote. Has it changed your personal views on your own right to vote? Explain in a journal entry.

  •  

    Using this graphic novel and (two) other non-fiction texts, research the role of either comics or the media during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Prepare a feature article on your chosen subject.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual Arts
  • Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer (C. Weatherford) (Topic)