Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement gets 4.5 Stars {Caldecott Honor, Non-Fiction, Biography}

Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes won the Caldecott for amazing paper collage illustrations.  This non-fiction biography informational book is written in poetry verse and the pictures fit the text perfectly.  4.5 out of 5 stars in my book review. black history, MLK day, Martin Luther King, Black History, inspiring, courage, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th grade would benefit most.

Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Ekua Holmes won a Caldecott Honor this year, 2016.  I normally don't include the illustrators name in book reviews, but the Caldecott is an award given to the best illustrated book and the illustrator is the one who won this high honor. Therefore, Ekua Holmes is mentioned for her amazing work in her first picture book illustration. 

I give Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer 4.5 out of 5 Stars.  This really is a fantastic biography book written in poetry verse.  The text is beautiful, though at times a bit confusing hence the .5 rating subtraction, and the pictures are stunning.  I love the simple yet complex and full of depth paper collage illustrations. They fit the poetry verse text so perfectly.

All in all, I really enjoyed this informational picture book.  I loved learning about a new aspect of the civil rights movement.  I loved having the first person perspective; this perspective allowed me to really connect with what Fannie was feeling and experiencing.  I loved how the picture book covers Fannie's life from 6 years old to a year before her death so that I could really see the whole picture.  I'm amazed Fannie's mother had 20 kids.  I can't even imagine being pregnant that many times. ;)  I really enjoyed this book, and I think the colors and pictures are well deserving of the Caldecott award.  

I did mention that the text was a tad confusing at times.  I feel that the lowest grade level I would go with this book is 5th grade b/c of the text, but I really only say 5th grade b/c they study US History.  Therefore, a class or parent read aloud or study of this book would be best for 5th graders.  I do think 6th grade through 9th grade would benefit the most from this book, and it is a perfect book for a class study during Black History Month or during a Martin Luther King Day celebration. Though, I also think it's a great book for any month or day recognizing amazing women and the many things they accomplished. Fannie was amazing; she is tough and smart. 

Fannie's determination, persistence, courage, and dedication were truly inspiring.  Go check this great non-fiction book out!  

Amazon had the following book review from School Library Journal: 

"This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement's most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured. For instance, in 1961, while she was having a small tumor removed, a doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent; at that time, Mississippi law allowed poor women to be sterilized without their knowledge. Hamer was in her 40s when young activists spoke at her church; until that point, she hadn't known that she could vote, and she volunteered to register. Though she faced threats and in 1963 was brutally beaten, she spent the rest of her life rallying others. Told in the first person from Hamer's own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist's perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes's beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots and her signature song, "This Little Light of Mine." Pair this title with Don Mitchell's The Freedom Summer Murders (Scholastic, 2014), which features a short chapter on Hamer, for a well-rounded look at this tumultuous, turbulent era. VERDICT Hamer's heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries."

Happy fantastic biography picture book reading and happy stunning illustrations viewing! 

Do you know much about Fannie Lour Hamer?  I didn't before reading this book, but I am now a big fan!

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