Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review: March

March: Books 1-3
By John Lewis, Anddrew Aydin and Nate Powell
Published: 8-13-13 (Book one), 1-20-15 (Book two), 8-2-16 (Book three)

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. 

Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole). 

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. 

Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story." Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

My review:

The March trilogy is the illustrated graphic novel format autobiography of John Lewis, specifically focusing on his time as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. The first book covers the years from his childhood (when he wanted to be a preacher and preached to his chickens) to his college years and his involvement with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in downtown Nashville. The second book is about the Freedom Riders and the March on Washington and the third book covers the Freedom Summer (Mississippi Summer Project) to register black people to vote and the march to Selma (Bloody Sunday). 

In school (in the 80s-90s) we learned a little bit about the Civil Rights Movement with a focus more on Dr. King. Rosa Parks was also mentioned. I didn't know anything about the other Civil Rights leaders so I learned a lot from reading these books and it definitely makes me want to read more about it. The comic book format is a unique way to tell Lewis's story. I thought the illustrations really conveyed the emotion behind what was happening.

These books were informative and written in an accessible way. The first book starts out on the day of President Obama's inauguration and each book includes segments from that day as well as what happened in the past. March: Book Three has won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the Michael L. Printz Award (an award from the American Library Association for teen literature) among others. 

Reading the books made me feel so angry and sad about the treatment of black people and inspired by the brave people in the movement who stood up to that abuse and discrimination in a nonviolent way. While I knew about these books and had purchased them for my library, I hadn't read them yet until recent events brought the books to mind again but I'm so glad I read them. 


  1. This is an eye-opening series. Like you I only knew of the highlights, abridged version of the Civil Rights Movement and I learned a lot from it. I'm so glad that it won several awards.

  2. Heard so many good things about this series. I'm spending February reading graphic novels, if I get though my stack, these are definitely on my radar!

  3. YES! The recent events definitely made me want to revisit these books. So important and so inspirational. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it with us. I hope to get my hands on a copy soon.

  4. I didn't know these existed! They sound phenomenal. John Lewis is such an inspiring and fascinating person. I need to pick these up.


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