November 18, 2017

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Twelve Days in May by Larry Dane Brimner | SLJ Review

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redstarBRIMNER, Larry Dane. Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961. 112p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. websites. Calkins Creek. Nov. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629795867.
Gr 5 Up –An engaging and accessible account of the 13 original Freedom Riders as they attempted to make their way from Washington, DC, to New Orleans, LA, to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The riders, “men and women, young and old, black and white,” planned to sit anywhere they liked on the buses and to make use of all facilities available at bus stations. Despite federal laws prohibiting segregated seating and facilities serving interstate passengers, many parts of the South ignored these laws and continued to enforce Jim Crow segregation. As they traveled, white Freedom Riders used “Colored” facilities and black Freedom Riders used “White” facilities. The farther south they went, the more intense and violent the opposition they faced. Despite their commitment to nonviolence, the Freedom Riders were attacked and beaten, and by the time they made it to Alabama, their bus was fire bombed and several riders sustained serious injuries. Brimner, author of several other books about civil rights in this era, knows the material well and presents a straightforward narrative approach to the subject that will appeal to readers. The stark, black-and-white design of the text emphasizes the directness of the prose, while the riveting, full-page photos and descriptive captions enhance the reading experience. VERDICT An essential part of civil rights collections and a worthy addition to all nonfiction shelves.–Kristy Pasquariello, Wellesley Free Library, MA

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2017 issue.

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