Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

illus. by Shane W. Evans. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385390286; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780385390293; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385390309. LC 2014010937.
RedReviewStarGr 1–4—Lillian may be old, but it's Voting Day, and she's going to vote. As she climbs the hill (both metaphorical and literal) to the courthouse, she sees her family's history and the history of the fight for voting rights unfold before her, from her great-great-grandparents being sold as slaves to the three marches across Selma's famous bridge. Winter writes in a well-pitched, oral language style ("my, but that hill is steep"), and the vocabulary, sentence structure, and font make the book well-suited both for independent reading and for sharing aloud. The illustrations, though, are what truly distinguish this offering. Lillian is portrayed in resolute left-to-right motion, and her present-day, bright red dress contrasts with the faded greens, blues, and grays of the past, sometimes in a direct overlay. A bright yellow sun, which readers may recognize from Evans's illustrations in Charles R. Smith Jr.'s 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World (Roaring Brook, 2015), symbolizes hope as it travels across the sky. The story concludes on an emphatic note, with a close-up of Lillian's hand on the ballot lever. An author's note provides historical context, including information about the woman who inspired Lillian (Lillian Allen, who in 2008 at age 100 voted for Barack Obama), and ends by reminding readers that protecting voting rights is still an ongoing issue.
VERDICT A powerful historical picture book.—Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ
, Jun 01, 2015

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