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

by Cynthia Levinson
Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Published by Atheneum, 2017
40 pages
ISBN: 978-1481400701

Ages 6-9

“Whenever Mike flew into town, Audrey and her momma coo-ooked. Barbecued ribs, stewed greens, sweet potato soufflé, and Audrey’s favorite—hot rolls baptized in butter!” “Mike” is Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr., and when he eats with Audrey’s family, he and other guests talk about ending segregation. Audrey feels the cause with passion. When a preacher at church calls for the Black children of Birmingham to march and fill the jails because they won’t risk the same reprisals as adults, Audrey is ready to volunteer. With her parents’ support, she joins the march and is arrested on the first day. Nine-year-old Audrey spends 7 days in jail. It’s scary, and lonely, but there are also moments of hope, and eventually jubilation, first when the day arrives that the jails can hold no more, and finally when Audrey is released into her parents’ embrace. Lively writing full of child-centered details is paired with illustrations full of energy and optimism, making the handful of sober scenes showing young Audrey alone and scared all the more potent. An author’s note provides more information about Audrey, while a timeline establishes historical order of events somewhat blurred in the narrative. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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