Representative John Lewis died over the weekend. My heart gets full with gratitude when I think of him, all the work he did for our nation. He was a United States Representative from Georgia for more than three decades, and before that he was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, as a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and was brutally beaten by police on more than one occasion. He was a staunch advocate for justice and kindness and getting into GOOD TROUBLE by challenging unjust systems and policies. PLUS he was a celebrated and award-winning author! In recent years, he won the National Book Award and the Printz Award for books in his graphic novel series March (see book cover above).
Libraries and librarians are getting into “good trouble” for making antiracism statements, for displaying books and materials for Pride month, for hosting community conversations about challenging topics, for collecting materials that some people vociferously object to, and for other things I can’t even think of right now. It is not easy, and a tricky balance to figure out. I hope you can find inspiration in John Lewis’s story. Here are a few books about him to recommend to kids and families (and read yourself!):
Run by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Afua Richardson, and Nate Powell.
Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement by Wisconsin author Ann Bausum.
And for younger readers: Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Asim Jabari