Written by Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
In light of the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many books on the civil rights movement are being published. This book gives a personal face to the movement like no other. Set squarely in the events of the twentieth century, this is the story of one woman who had a profound effect on the world. The timeline is very helpful in letting the reader know what else is going on.
Fannie Lou Townsend was born to poor Mississippi sharecroppers in 1917, the last of twenty children. To say she had a rough childhood would be a severe understatement. She picked cotton alongside her family after suffering through polio. After her marriage to Pap Hamer, her doctor forced her sterilization, but she adopted two daughters. Partnering with white Freedom Riders, she learned of her right to vote and eventually ran for Congress. She was jailed and beaten into lingering injury. Any time she found herself at odds with a group seeking to give her limited help, she moved on to a more helpful group. The Democrats would not seat her group at convention, so she helped form a separate party. She also worked for women’s rights and for early education.
Weatherford’s use of language is striking, lyrical, and completely appropriate for the topic. Holmes’ use of collage for the backdrop adds immeasurably to the feel of the text and often lets the reader know about many of the events happening around Fannie Lou. Fourth graders will learn about literature, civil rights, history, and the biography of an individual. Parents and teachers may want to consider reading the text aloud to facilitate discussion.
- Title: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
- Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
- Illustrator: Ekua Holmes
- Published: Candlewick Press, August 2015
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 56 pages
- Grade Level: 4 to 7
- Genre: Nonfiction, History, Civil rights
- ISBN: 978-0-7636-6531-9
- Extras: Author’s note, detailed timeline, source notes, selected bibliography, copyright acknowledgements