Honoring John Lewis | A Brief Resource Roundup

A PBS documentary, a picture book about his boyhood aspirations to become a preacher, and his own graphic memoir trilogy invite young readers into the life and battles of the late, beloved John Lewis.

With the recent passing of Congressman John Lewis, it is important for young readers to understand and honor his legacy, and to continue his fight for equality. It’s not an aside that these are also wonderful stories, well-told and compelling. Share these resources and empower young students and budding activists alike.Preaching to the Chickens by John Lewis


Preaching to the Chickens by Jabari Asim. illus. by E.B. Lewis. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. ISBN 9780399168567.
Asim focuses on a lesser-known side of Lewis—as a tender caretaker for the many chickens on the family farm and a minister in training who preached to the attentive hens. A quietly powerful and joyful look at the childhood of a living legend and a superb introduction to studying heroes of the civil rights era.

John Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement by Jim Haskins & Kathleen Benson. illus. by Benny Andrews. Lee & Low. ISBN 9781584302506.
Haskins and Benson provide a solid introduction to the life of Lewis, from his childhood tending chickens on an Alabama sharecropping farm to his years as a civil rights activist to his service in the United States Congress.

The Story of Civil Rights Hero John Lewis by Jim Haskins & Kathleen Benson. illus. by Aaron Boyd. Lee & Low. ISBN 9781620148549.
Descriptive imagery and engaging writing combine for a brief but fascinating account of Lewis, who, born to sharecroppers in segregated rural Alabama, became one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement.

March: Books One, Two, and Three by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin. illus. by Nate Powell. Top Shelf. ISBN 9781603093002.
Who better to tell John Lewis’s story than the man himself? Featuring inky, expressive artwork and forthright writing, this graphic memoir trilogy offers insight into Lewis’s tireless work for civil rights—many teens will be struck by the realization that though Lewis fought resolutely for justice, he, too, had moments of doubt and pain as a young man striving to do what was right.

John Lewis Graphic Memoir Trilogy MarchJohn Lewis: Civil Rights Champion and Congressman by Alison Morretta. Cavendish Square. ISBN 9781502645494.
In this installment of the “African American Trailblazers” series, Morretta explores the life of John Lewis, offering historical context to give readers a better understanding of why his accomplishments were, and are, so important. Absorbing writing and well-chosen photos will keep readers intrigued and eager to learn more.


We Are the Change: Words of Inspiration from Civil Rights Leaders Chronicle. ISBN 9781452170398.
John Lewis's "We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us" is just one of the quotes found in this collection of stirring words from civil rights heroes such as Dolores Huerta and Martin Luther King Jr. Various illustrators bring these quotes to life, and there are illustrator notes on the speakers as well. Inspiring and sure to motivate readers to learn more about Lewis and other civil rights icons.



John Lewis: Get in the Way
Taking its title from U.S. Rep. John Lewis’s refrain that those eager to make a difference should “find a way to get in the way,” this hour-long PBS program covers key points in the civil rights leader’s life. What emerges is an enlightening portrait of a man who was willing to risk jail and injury for his beliefs; a strong introduction to Lewis, to pair with a reading of his “March” trilogy.

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