If You’re Going To A March (Martha Freeman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is If You’re Going To A March, written by Martha Freeman and illustrated by Violet Kim, a child-friendly introduction to the do’s and don’t’s of peaceful demonstration.

If you’re going to a march, you’ll need to make a sign – a leftover pizza box is perfect. There are quite a few rules to follow: dress for the weather, wear comfortable and sturdy shoes, bring snacks and water. Stay with your grown-ups, but have your phone number and address memorized in case you get separated. There might be speeches (this part can be boring) and there might be music (this part can be fun). There might be police, there to “keep people safe”. There might even be people who disagree with you, but they’re allowed – what you are doing can help to change minds and change the world.

This was very cool. Presented as a introductory guidebook of practical advice for children attending marches, the text intersperses solid advice for kids while giving them an idea of what makes peaceful protest such an important part of our democracy. The illustrations are colorful, clean, and bright, following four families and their young children through their day at a march for a nondescript cause (marches for causes like women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, etc. are briefly shown in the backmatter). There is no mention in the story of how marches can have destructiv or violent outcomes, but it’s tough to say if that would be appropriate in this context. Also, the message of police presence is appropriate for children, but may feel disingenuous to many adults. However, the length was good, JJ enjoyed it, and it’s mostly a great primer for children who are interested in exercising their civil rights or political voice, and we enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

We March (Shane W. Evans)

Hello, everyone! Today, we’re wrapping up our Black History Month series with We March by Shane W. Evans, an account of the 1963 March on Washington written from a child’s point of view.

Set against the background of the seminal civil rights protest, We March tells the story of one family’s experience, presenting the history of the day in one short sentence and concept per page (“The sun rises,” “We pray for strength,” “We walk together,” “We sing,” etc). The simple yet dramatic art tells the rest of the story, of people of all ages and walks of life coming together to take a stand against discrimination and inequality.

This book is a great way to introduce a vital historical event to young readers. The simplicity of the text is perfect for pre-readers, and keeps the length fairly short, enough that we were able to read through it twice. The art then invites a closer examination of the events of the day, and a discussion between children and adults about the people, places, and motivations that unfold on each page. JJ really enjoyed this one, and loved exploring the illustrations long after we had finished our read-throughs. A great way for little ones to experience the March through the eyes of another child, and definitely Baby Bookworm approved!