Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement

Choosing Brave cover
Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Joy. Illustrated by Janelle Washington

By Angela Joy
Illustrated by Janelle Washington
Roaring Brook Press, 2022
64 pages

Ages 7-11

An informational picture book about Mamie Till Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, beautifully tells a wrenching story. The repeated refrain, “It was the braver thing,” underscores Mamie Till Mobley’s lifelong inclination to do the thing that was often more frightening, more difficult. That included her decision to show the world Emmett’s body after the 14-year-old was lynched on a visit to relatives in Mississippi in 1955; as a result, the nation finally took notice. But before the aftermath of that awful event, Mamie and Emmett have space to live and breathe in these pages. Readers learn about Mamie’s childhood, her first marriage to Louis Till, and Emmett’s birth and childhood. They see Mamie’s love for her son, and how she cared for him when he contracted polio and taught him to whistle to help calm him when he was struggling with the stutter caused by the disease. In the aftermath of his murder, when his killers were found not guilty, readers see her grief matched by courage as she continued to live a life of purpose. Every decision made and every judicious word chosen by the author is weighted with feeling, while the remarkable paper-cut illustrations, reproduced on matte pages in muted shades, are full of intentionality of line and movement. Exceptional back matter, including an author’s note telling more about Mamie’s life and the life and death of Emmett, glossary, timeline, and playlist, round out this outstanding work of non-fiction. ©2022 Cooperative Children’s Book Center