March: Book Three

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
March: Book Three Book Poster Image
Uplifting finale to terrific series reveals tragic violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

March: Book 3 delivers a powerful lesson in the history of the civil rights movement. It spans from the 1963 firebombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, to the inauguration of the first African-American president, Barack Obama. It stresses the importance of being able to vote.

Positive Messages

Injustice can be fought with nonviolence. The poor and powerless can prevail through collective action.

Positive Role Models & Representations

John Lewis and his fellow protesters bravely endure beatings and death threats in their pursuit of justice. Other role models include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Fannie Lou Hamer.

Violence

March: Book Three is the most violent volume in the series. Lewis and his fellow protesters endure beatings with batons and cattle prods. Young girls die in the bombing of a church. Young men disappear, until their bodies are unearthed in the swamp.

Sex

John Lewis alludes to romances between young civil rights workers, but none are dramatized.

Language

Rough and racist language is part of the story. African-Americans are referred to by the "N" word and also called "coons." "Damn" and "hell" are used a few times. "F--k" is used once and meets with disapproval.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Young civil rights workers have a party at which beer is served. Various people smoke cigars and cigarettes, as was the habit at the time.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 2017 Coretta Scott King Book Medal and Michael J. Printz Medal winner March: Book Three concludes the trilogy of graphic novels about John Lewis and the fight for civil rights in the mid-1960s. Casual racism, beatings by police, and murders by  white supremacists are part of the story, which becomes quite intense at times. The authors and artist don't sugarcoat the story, but they also don't portray violence gratuitously. The language is often harsh, with frequent use of the "N" word; "damn," "hell," and "f--k" are used less frequently. Sex and substances are barely mentioned.

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old November 11, 2017

Heavy civil rights story

Violence is frequent and includes blood; language includes the F bomb.

What's the story?

MARCH: BOOK THREE picks up the story with the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, follows the the marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, and culminates with the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Along the way, John Lewis and his fellow protestors face many threats, from beatings to lynchings, but they never abandon hope. The book dramatizes what went on behind the scenes during some of the most dramatic protests in American history.

Is it any good?

Comics can bring social issues to life in ways that sometimes surpass other media, and this remarkable trilogy demonstrates exactly how. For March: Book Three, Rep. John Lewis has a wealth of experience from which to draw, and he and his younger collaborators have created a nonfiction graphic memoir designed to enlighten and encourage a new generation of engaged readers. March: Book Three celebrates the bravery and resourcefulness of the early members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee but doesn't shy away from showing the costs some paid for their quest for justice. The trilogy is a marvel of nonfiction visual storytelling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how March: Book Three addresses the fight for voters' rights in the American South. How have ideas about segregation changed since the 'mid-60s?

  • How is violence portrayed in March:Book Three? What role does nonviolence play in the story?

  • How have current protest movements been shaped by what happened in the 1960s?

  • What role has the media played in shaping public perceptions of issues like the civil rights movement?

Book details

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