Saturday, January 7, 2023

Today's read... Love is Loud by Sandra Neil Wallace

I'm a huge fan of nonfiction, especially in the kidlit realm...and today's read is just that. This is a historical picture book, which takes a look at Diane Nash and her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. I do remember learning a bit about her in school, but I'll admit that I'm not near expert level and could use a refresher on her information. Plus, I'm curious as to whether this one will interest the intended age group because these topics can be a hard sell and difficult to write for this age group.

So, let's find out if this one is a winner!

How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement
by Sandra Neil Wallace
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book
48 pages
ages 4 to 8

JANUARY 10th!!!

Meet Diane Nash, a civil rights leader who worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis, in this illuminating nonfiction picture book that “highlights major moments in Nash’s life” (The Horn Book, starred review).

Diane grew up in the southside of Chicago in the 1940s. As a university student, she visited the Tennessee State Fair in 1959. Shocked to see a bathroom sign that read For Colored Women, Diane learned that segregation in the South went beyond schools—it was part of daily life. She decided to fight back, not with anger or violence, but with strong words of truth and action.

Finding a group of like-minded students, including student preacher John Lewis, Diane took command of the Nashville Movement. They sat at the lunch counters where only white people were allowed and got arrested, day after day. Leading thousands of marchers to the courthouse, Diane convinced the mayor to integrate lunch counters. Then, she took on the Freedom Rides to integrate bus travel, garnering support from Martin Luther King Jr. and then the president himself—John F. Kennedy.



With original flair, this book brings Diane Nash up close and personal to young readers.

First off, this book does have lovely illustrations. The bold painted scenes hold quite a bit of emotion, and then, eye-catching paste-ons add depth, texture, and a touch of original design. These are enjoyable to flip through and discover.

The text, surprisingly, is written in second person. Yes, second. The reader is pulled into this story as if they were Diane. Starting with her very young years and baptism, the time quickly runs forward, allowing the reader to catch a general overview of her life as if it were their own. This, actually, works well and is definitely a new take. The phrases also hold a bit of poetic flow as they try to keep to the audience's level with hints of things readers might enjoy (candy apple sweetness, etc.), while weaving it metaphorically into the happenings. It is interesting and masterfully woven...and I do believe adults, who enjoy well crafted words, will especially appreciate that flow. 

The story goes through Diane's life, more quickly during her younger years until it reaches the point where she faces segregation and takes her stand. Even then, the plot speeds steadily along to keep boredom at bay. The story, while suggested for ages 4 to 8, might, however, be better for a slightly older age group. Not only are some terms not quite as sure for some readers at that level, but the mix of the poetic tones with the information isn't something all will be able to appreciate. It might even leave some a little confused. But I do love how this is done and enjoy the unique and interesting way it's put together, and believe slightly older readers will simply get more from it.

And here they are...

Sandra Neil Wallace writes about people who break barriers and change the world. She is the author of several award-winning books for children, including Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery, illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received the Orbis Pictus Book Award and was an ALA Notable Book. A former ESPN reporter and the first woman to host an NHL broadcast, she is the recipient of the Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award and creates change as cofounder of The Daily Good, a nonprofit bringing twenty thousand free, culturally diverse foods to college students each year through its Global Foods Pantries. Visit Sandra at

Bryan Collier is a beloved illustrator known for his unique style combining watercolor and detailed collage. He is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Trombone ShortyDave the PotterMartin’s Big Words, and Rosa. His books have won many other awards as well, including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. His recent books include By and By, ThurgoodThe Five O’Clock Band, and Between the Lines. He lives in New York with his family.

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