March: Book Two

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
March: Book Two Book Poster Image
Confrontations intensify in riveting civil rights memoir.

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Kids say

age 11+
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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

March: Book Two dramatizes the struggles of the freedom riders who traveled through the American South in the early '60s. The narrative spotlights pivotal moments in the civil rights movement and shows some of the progress made in the intervening decades.

Positive Messages

March: Book Two emphasizes the power of nonviolent protest. By remaining polite and level-headed in the face of aggression, Lewis and his allies demonstrate the merits of their quest for equality.

Positive Role Models & Representations

John Lewis and his fellow protestors put their lives on the line by standing up to the racist policies of the Deep South in the early '60s. In the face of terrible provocation, they remain true to their nonviolent ideals.

Violence

March: Book Two contains many scenes of violence. African-American protestors and their allies are beaten, shot at, sprayed with high-pressure hoses, and attacked with dogs. A freedom rider bus is firebombed, as is a church full of worshippers.

Sex
Language

Given the emotional intensity of most scenes, it's not surprising that characters often use strong language: "Hell," "damn," "goddammit," "bastard," "s--t," "balls," and "pissing" are each used once or twice. The "N" word is used in various scenes.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Casual smoking is shown in a few scenes, but the disciplined activists discourage it among themselves.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that March: Book Two continues the historical saga and personal memoir Rep. John Lewis began in March: Book One. This installment, as excellent as the first, follows the young Lewis as he and his allies protest segregation and other racist policies in the American South. African-American protestors are beaten, shot at, sprayed with high-pressure hoses, and attacked with dogs. A freedom rider bus is firebombed, as is a church full of worshippers. Strong language is used in intense scenes ("hell," "damn," "goddammit," "bastard," "s--t," "balls," and "pissing" one or two times each), and the "N" word is used in various scenes. Crowd scenes include smoking, but the freedom riders actively discourage the use of tobacco.

User Reviews

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Kid, 11 years old July 31, 2016

Great book! ;)

The March comics have a great story line. It is so touching! It has strong cussing so if you are 11 and up it is a good fit for any book lover. At least that i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Having achieved success with the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis and his fellow freedom riders up the stakes by traveling by bus and taking their message of nonviolent protest to the American Deep South. They are met with police brutality, beatings, attacks by dogs, and even murder. Their struggle attracts the attention of the influential and powerful, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and their path leads to the landmark 1963 March on Washington.

Is it any good?

MARCH: BOOK TWO maintains the level of excellence established by the first volume. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), assisted by writer Andrew Aydin and illustrator Nate Powell, does an exemplary job of delineating the issues, depicting the hardships and dangers with clarity and compassion. The scenes set in the early '60s are more harrowing than ever, but the flash-forwards to the inauguration in 2009 offer a much-needed sense of hopefulness. Fans of nonfiction graphic novels will be anxious to see the next and final installment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the medium of comics is suited to depicting historical subjects. What unique storytelling techniques does the combination of words and pictures allow?

  • Is nonviolence more effective than other methods of protest? Why do you think Martin Luther King Jr. told his followers to always be polite and to not fight back? Why did Malcolm X not agree with this philosophy?

  • How has the United States changed in the years since the March on Washington? Why do you think John Lewis and his collaborators include in this volume the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama?

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