Monday, January 15, 2024

Today's read... Fighting with Love: The Legacy of John Lewis by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Today's read was released a little less than a week ago... so here's a very late, Happy Book Birthday shout-out! It's also a early shout-out for Black History Month, which is coming up in a couple weeks. I'll admit that I didn't know very much about John Lewis before picking this up. I'd heard the name, knew a bit about what he did, and was excited to learn more. 

So, settle into that chair and let's find out if this is a history well-done or if it's not.

by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Contributor: John Ransome
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book / Nonfiction
48 pages
ages 4 to 8

The story of a groundbreaking civil rights leader, John Lewis, comes to life in this compelling and beautifully told nonfiction picture book.

John Lewis left a cotton farm in Alabama to join the fight for civil rights when he was only a teenager. He soon became a leader of a movement that changed the nation. Walking at the side of his mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis was led by his belief in peaceful action and voting rights. Today and always his work and legacy live on.

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From working hard to the desire to learn to fighting for his beliefs, the life of John Lewis comes to life with bright illustrations to accompany every step.

In these pages, readers learn about civil rights leader, John Lewis. Beginning with his childhood surrounding cotton fields and gliding through his teen life all the way to his historic march from Selma to Montgomery, readers discover where he came from and what he accomplished. The author brings him across with enough familiarity for readers to identify with and sympathize with, while introducing the injustices and problems of the time. The information comes across clearly and manages to still flow with story telling smoothness. 

This is sold for ages 4 to 8, but due to the length and difficulty of the text, I'd recommend this to a slightly older group, ages 6 to 10.  The situations are presented in a way the age group can understandh and stays appropriate even when heading through more violent, historical moments...this was done with exceptional care and stuck to the general meaning behind the situations and outcomes rather than the brutality. So, very age appropriate. 

At the end of the book is a more detailed summary of John Lewis' life, which will assist parents, teachers, and caretakers in opening up a theme or discussion surrounding John Lewis. It's a nice edition to themes surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and brings across the gentleman's tale with heart.

And here they are...

Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of numerous nonfiction and historical fiction titles for picture book, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult readers including Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and received a Jane Addams Children’s Book Honor, Christopher Award, and Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband and frequent collaborator, James Ransome, and their family. Visit her at

James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Before She Was Harriet received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. His other award-winning titles include the Coretta Scott King winner The Creation; Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s BarbershopSweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; and Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award. James is also a recipient of the ALA Children’s Literature Legacy Award. He frequently collaborates with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome, and their books include Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and Fighting with Love: The Legacy of John Lewis. James is a professor and coordinator of the MFA Illustration Graduate Program at Syracuse University. He lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley region with his family. Visit James at

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