The Youngest Marcher: The True Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Right Activist

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
The Youngest Marcher: The True Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Right Activist Book Poster Image
Charming, inspiring tale of 9-year-old protester.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Age-appropriate information about the contributions children made to the civil rights movement.

Positive Messages

Kids can make a difference. Stand up for justice and fairness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While there are positive role models in the adults, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the kids in the book are the real heroes: They have a huge impact on the civil rights movement when adults are afraid to take part.

Violence & Scariness

Discussion of water hoses being used on protesters, but no one is shown bloodied, as happened in real life. An example of the Ku Klux Klan chasing African-American people, but no violence shown.

Language

Mention that African-American people were called bad names, but none is used in the text.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that by Cynthia Levinson's The Youngest Marcher: The True Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Right Activist, tells ths story of 9-year-old Hendricks' participation in the civil rights movement and mentions child protesters going to jail, being attacked with water hoses, and having run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan. Parents should be prepared to have age-appropriate discussions about civil disobedience, race relations, and participating in protests.

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What's the story?

In THE YOUNGEST MARCHER, 9-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks wants to help in the 1960s protests for civil rights. Every time she speaks up, she gets shushed, until the time she stands up when adults are too scared to try. She becomes the youngest person to get arrested during the marches, and she spends a week in jail. Will she make it through?

Is it any good?

Charming, delightfully drawn, and cleverly put together, this book hits home with the message that you're never too young to do the right thing. The true story of Audrey Faye Hendricks shows the bravery and conviction of a little girl who stands up when all the adults sit down in fear. Author Cynthia Levinson does a wonderful job of telling the story through a child's eyes. The Youngest Marcher, while dealing with a very serious subject and time in U.S. history, is lighthearted at points, gets serious, and then recovers -- much like a resilient child. The book's message is especially poignant at a time when activism is on the rise in the United States, with the Women's March in Washington, D.C., and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The illustrations are whimsical and capture Audrey's energy and innocence while at the same time depicting a significant issue and historical moment. The combination works, and the story never gets bogged down or turns preachy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how they can be politically active like the kids in The Youngest Marcher. Have you ever participated in a protest? 

  • What does civil disobedience mean? When do you follow the rules, and when do you break them?

  • How is media coverage of protests today similar to or different from how they were covered in the civil rights era? 

Book details

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