Thursday, January 26, 2017

LOVING vs. VIRGINIA: Multi-Cultural Children's Book Day Review ~ Christy Mihaly



Tomorrow is the fourth annual Multi-Cultural Children's Book Day. Hurray! 

If you're a teacher looking for multicultural resources, check out the MCBD Classroom Kindness Kit. MCBD also is making available free books for teachers and diversity book lists and activities for parents and educators.

There's more information about the non-profit MCBD at the end of this post.



As part of MCBD, I have the great pleasure of reviewing Patricia Hruby Powell's excellent forthcoming Loving vs. Virginia.


Described as "a documentary novel of the landmark civil rights case," this book tells the story behind the 1967 United States Supreme Court case holding that states can't ban interracial marriage. It's illustrated by Shadra Strickland and published by Chronicle Books. In addition to Strickland's pictures (in a style she refers to as visual journalism from the 1950s and 1960s), the work features photographs and other primary source materials. Patricia Hruby Powell, author of the award-winning Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, creates an excellent introduction to an important civil rights issue. At 260 pages, it's advertised for readers 12 and up. 
This spread from Loving v. Virginia illustrates the reality of "separate but equal" segregated schools.
Using verse, the author alternates between the voices of Mildred Jeter Loving (of Native American and African American heritage) and Richard Loving (white). Richard was a friend of Millie's older brothers as they grew up in a racially mixed rural community in Virginia, attending segregated schools. 


The short, poetic chapters provide emotional insights into the family lives, the injustice, the fears and devotion of this young couple. Outside of their small community, white onlookers stare at the couple and hurl insults. They're barred from entering whites-only venues. The injustices anger them, even as their love deepens. They travel to Washington, D.C. to get married. Only weeks later, they're arrested in bed, and terrorized by the local Sheriff because of their "illegal" marriage. They spend time in jail, stand trial and are convicted, and return to Washington, D.C. as exiles. Later, represented by the ACLU, the Lovings initiate their groundbreaking legal case. Nine years later, after numerous setbacks, the Supreme Court unanimously rules in their favor. They return at last to make their home and raise their children in Virginia, where they started. The main narrative spans fifteen years, 1952 to 1967.
First date with brothers and sister at the drive-in

Stopped by the Sheriff again

Arrested in the night, for being married
This hybrid historical fiction novel works well. Its fictional approach allows for lively dialog and lets us see into the hearts of the protagonists, while the factual background and supporting materials provide contextual information about the times in which the Lovings lived. Kudos to the team that created this beautiful book. I recommend it for readers of all ages. Note that some parents may want to be aware that the book describes the birth of the Lovings' first child before their marriage. Mildred left high school to have her first baby. 

Back matter includes a list of interviews conducted by the author and a timeline. Reading this novel may inspire older readers to read more deeply on the covered subject and related issues.
Mildred and Richard Loving, in a photo from the book

Multicultural Children's Book Day was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Their mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
Sponsors: Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books.

Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O'Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, and Andrea Y. Wang.

22 comments:

  1. Considering the movie version of this story is out also, I am hoping this book winds up in many readers' hands. Great review, Christy, and super post about Multicultural Children's Book Day. Hurray.

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  2. Thanks, Kathy. Learning about and understanding our history is more important than ever.

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    1. Amen, my sister. I am also very intrude by the structure of this book, too.

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    2. What a meaty and timely post, Chris. Thanks for your research.

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  3. A perfect post, Christy, to celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day. I look forward to adding this to my reading list.

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  4. what a great way to bring history to life! Verse, history, illustrations, photos... great review. Thanks!

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    1. Yes, it's a very intriguing format and I think kids will love it.

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  5. Yes, great book review! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Great review for such an important and timely topic! Thanks so much for joining us for Multicultural Children's Book Day.

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    1. Mia, I'm thrilled to be a part of MCBD. There are few things we can do that are as important as getting kids excited about reading, and opening their eyes to the stories of people different from themselves.

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  7. Thank you, Christy, for featuring the book LOVING vs. VIRGINIA. The story of Richard and Mildred Loving is a beautiful story of love.

    Celebrate diversity.

    ~Suzy

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  8. I really want to read this book! Thanks for a great review, Christy! #readyourworld (Becky@MCBD)

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  9. I can't wait to get my own copy of this book! Wonderful interview!

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    1. Thank you! And yes, it's a wonderful read.

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  10. Helpful review, helpful book for young readers & as always, Yay! for Multicultural Children's Book Day.
    This post makes me feel we are, as a nation,
    capable to move forward, thoughtfully & for The Good.

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    1. Exactly! Books like this will help to get us there.

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