Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
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Fun, charming look at civil rights leader's childhood.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

An interesting look into the early life of Congressman John Lewis with a focus on how religion influenced his early life and his career choice to be an activist.

Positive Messages

The book offers a look at a child who decided not to wait until he became a grown up to work on his goals. The book also has messages about animal care and compassion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character and members of his family and community serve as positive role models throughout the book as they consistently show themselves to be hard working and compassionate.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jabari Asim's Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis focuses on the early life of John Lewis, U.S. Representative from Georgia, civil rights leader, and author of the March graphic memoir series. It tells the story of how as a young boy who wanted to be a preacher, Lewis practiced giving sermons to the chickens he took care of as part of his chores. Parents should be ready to talk about the civil rights movement and the influence of religion in kids' lives.

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What's the story?

What's a kid to do when he wants to be a preacher but has to take care of the chickens? Preach to them, of course! That's what civil rights leader and hero John Lewis did when he was a kid. PREACHING TO THE CHICKENS shows how he loved his chickens, took care of them, and practiced delivering his sermons to them. Who knew this practice would help him become a great leader of many people when he grew up? Maybe the chickens did.

Is it any good?

This is a cute, funny, sweet, beautifully illustrated look at the early childhood of Rep. John Lewis as he practiced his sermons with his family's chickens. Preaching to the Chickens shares in a fun and entertaining way how John Lewis carried out his chores and his desire to be a preacher. Author Jabari Asim does a wonderful job of capturing the whimsical imagination of a child who's pretending. And illustrator E.B. Lewis' watercolors are rich and dynamic. Young readers will enjoy this imaginative look at an important civil rights leader.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of religion in Preaching to the Chickens. Why did John Lewis practice giving sermons? Have you ever practiced something around the animals in your house? What was it?

  • How does John show he's responsible with the chickens? What chores do you do at home, and why are they important?

  • What did your parents want to be when they grew up? What do you want to be?

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For kids who love picture books and civil rights heroes

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