A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
March opens a window on a world much different from today: Alabama in the days of Jim Crow and segregation. It follows Congressman John Lewis from his childhood on an Alabama chicken farm through his life-changing encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to his participation in the Nashville student movement, when he battled to end segregation through nonviolent protest at department-store lunch counters.
Again and again, March emphasizes the power of non-violent civil protest. John Lewis and his fellow students look to the practices of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a means of achieving social change.
Positive Role Models
John Lewis is presented as a sensitive, kindhearted child, who's willing to resist authority, parental or otherwise, when his beliefs are at stake. As he matures, he sees that he needs to stand up for his fellow African-Americans, even in the face of violence. He understands, however, that nonviolence will win the day.
Violence & Scariness
There are a handful of violent scenes in March, but they're historically accurate and presented without exploitation or unnecessary bloodshed. Black protestors on the Edmund Pettus Bridge are beaten by police, as are students who demand service at the food counters at department stores in Nashville. A single panel shows the battered body of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old murdered in Mississippi.
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The "N" word is used frequently in scenes where protestors, bystanders, and police clash in March.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
John Lewis and his fellow protestors are trained to ignore having cigarette smoke blown in their faces.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that March is a powerful look back at the early days of the civil rights movement in the American South. Both a history and a memoir of Congressman John Lewis' early life, this first of a planned trilogy emphasizes the power of nonviolent protest and shows how people can band together to effect social change. It contains some violence, including beatings by police and the murder of a 14-year-old boy, but these scenes are not graphic or lingered upon. Bigoted characters use the "N" word throughout the book, but there's no other objectionable language.
Is It Any Good?
March is a powerful testament to the courage and resourcefulness of those who fought and died for equal rights. By writing about his childhood and education, John Lewis, with the scripting assistance of Andrew Aydin, makes the tale personal, while offering glimpses of larger-than-life figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nate Powell's black-and-white artwork clearly illustrates the action and gives each character a mark of uniqueness. Highly recommended.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.