I Am John Lewis

Penguin/Rocky Pond. (Ordinary People Change the World). Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593405949.
K-Gr 2–This new installment in the “Ordinary People Change the World” series covers the late Congressman John Lewis’s early life, his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and a few facts about his life in office. In young Lewis’s first-person narration, children learn how he “liked making things better” as he was growing up on a farm in Alabama, but how his parents repeatedly told him to “stay out of trouble” when he noticed the staggering racial injustice around him. Inspired by his grandmother’s example of peaceful resistance, Lewis sought to “get into good trouble, necessary trouble” by trying to get a library card that he was denied, then participating in many nonviolent sit-ins, protests, and marches. The digital cartoonish illustrations are stylistically reminiscent of characters from “Peanuts” and “Calvin and Hobbes,” depicting the difficult historical realities in a more approachable way, mixing full-bleed spreads with some comic book panels and speech balloons. Meltzer’s prose also presents the brutal facts and events in a muted manner, although it does occasionally diminish the powerful and inspiring example of Lewis’s life and message. Back matter includes a time line and photos.
VERDICT While somewhat less sanitized than some of the others in this series, this is still a mixed bag in terms of tone and presentation of a charged period in history underlying an accessible if imperfect biography.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing