Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama

Spring 2015 Non-Fiction
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Author: Hester Bass
Illustrator: E. B. Lewis
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763669195
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Although Alabama is an infamous name in the history of civil rights, the city of Huntsville managed to bypass the violence much of the state suffered. Non-violent events, which the author calls, "seeds of freedom," sowed in the early sixties grew into the peaceful integration of a formerly segregated society.

It wasn't because the white leadership in the community was so progressive, it was because the African-Americans in the community were so creative. For example, in 1962, they collectively and quietly decided to have a "Blue Jean Sunday" on Easter. They all wore overalls and skirts of blue denim instead of their usual Easter finery causing the local merchants to lose a large amount of money. Some estimate this loss at a million dollars. Another time, three women -- including one who was pregnant, and one who held a baby -- would not leave a lunch counter when commanded to do so by the police. This forced the hand of the police who arrested them. Needless to say, the nation took notice when a baby went to jail.

Author Hester Bass uses the "seeds of freedom" metaphor to tie events together, revealing the cumulative and wise work of the African-American community. E.B. Lewis's watercolor pictures are inspired. The realistic picture of a lovely pensive child holding a drawing of her feet in order to buy shoes is touching; and the depiction of police turning fire hoses on people is dark and suggestive of violence rather than being a realistic depiction. Masterful illustrations of events.

Kemie Nix   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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