Sitting In, Standing Up: Leaders of the Civil Rights Era

Nomad. (Civil Rights Era). Nov. 2020. 112p. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781619309128; pap. $15.95. ISBN 9781619309159.
Gr 5-8–This series installment delves into the lives of six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. The five chapters cover Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, John Lewis, and Ella Baker. Extension projects are included at the end of each chapter, and QR codes are embedded throughout. There are plentiful photographs, colorful pull-quotes, a time line of each individual’s life, and a robust glossary. Taylor presents numerous opportunities for readers to critically engage with the content and make connections to their own experiences. She also references current events, such as the murder of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police officers in March 2020, and frequently asks readers to compare and contrast the movements and organizations of the civil rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement. Rather than framing the Civil Rights Movement as a monolith, Taylor demonstrates how there were varied approaches, leaders, and causes working toward the larger project of equality for Black Americans. The text’s inclusion of highest-ranking NAACP female staff member Ella Baker, an activist who may be familiar to some readers, is a welcome highlight.
VERDICT This timely offering for middle grade readers holds strong appeal for children and adults.

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