A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Voice of Freedom tells the story of Fannie Lou Hamer and her rise from child sharecropper to civil rights icon. It shares important information about what it meant to be a Black American in the Jim Crow-era South, and how activits working for civil rights and voiting rights were arrested, beaten, and killed.
Strong messages about perseverance, pride, activism, equality, and more.
Positive Role Models
Frannie Lou is strong in the face of horrible prejudice, oppression, and violence. She perseveres and becomes a civl right leader.
Violence & Scariness
Voice of Freedom describes much of the violence of the civil rights era of the 1960s. Hamer and associates are beaten severely when they are unjustifiably arrested. She suffered lifetime injuries from her prison beating. Men fire bullets into homes to dissuade people from registering to vote, and SNCC voter registration volunteers are killed. Hamer threatens to slit a man's throat for turning his back on the movement. A woman is described as having been tricked into submitting to an operation that made her sterile. This operation was part of a government program.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language is harsh in parts. In a scene when Fannie Lou is arrested and prison, and those beating her call her a "N-word bitch."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, by Carole Boston Weatherford, is a lyrical look at the life of this iconic leader, who began life in a poor family of Mississippi sharecroppers, endured racial injustice throughout her life, and became a voting rights activist in the 1960s. Mixed-media collages won illustrator Ekua Holmes a 2016 Caldecott Honor and the 2016 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award. Through poems written in the first-person voice, Hamer serves as the filter through which readers see horrific acts of racism, experience unfair work practices, and observe her incredible strength. Parents should be prepared to discuss inequality and the rampant acts of violence and racist killings intended to destroy the civil rights movement, including multiple assassinations. Hamer's story also includes the fact that she was sterilized against her will in 1961 as a part of a government program that targeted poor and primarily minority women. Racist language is harsh in places, such as "N-word bitch."
Is It Any Good?
Through poetry, the lyrics to traditional gospel spirituals, and mixed-media quilt-like collages, Hamer's life and experiences jump off the page in this stunning picture-book biography. Readers see her move back and forth from being a regular child to being a child living under the oppressive restrictions of the Jim Crow South. Author Carole Boston Weatherford deftly conveys a humanness that's often missing from profiles about civil rights giants. Hamer's strength and vulnerability are unflinchingly displayed, which takes the book to another, more sophisticated level.
Hamer's plainspoken approach to her experiences are sure to appeal to both parents and kids alike as they tackle the difficult issues of civil rights, social resistance, and the inner workings of social justice organizations.
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.