During this time of heightened injustice resulting from systemic racism, Let the Children March by Let the Children March is a powerful read. This book features an important moment in 1963’s history, when children protested for their civil rights and their freedom. These children become heroes when they should have been learning addition and subtraction skills in a classroom. They participated in anti-segregation marches to protest the legal separation between black people and white people. The power of the people, big or little, behind the civil rights movement made great progress, but obstacles to equality remain to this day.
In our present day we are seeing constant rallies, protests, and vigils take place all over the world. Individuals are lending their voices to the chorus of change to speak out against racism and race-based police brutality. These demonstrations are organized and populated by diverse groups of people (all ethnicities, all ages, all faiths, etc.) to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Our students may have seen the protests happening in Brooklyn, or may have participated in them with their families. They would see how today is reflected in Clark-Robinson’s story which tells the tale of young children fighting for their equal rights.
Let the Children March portrays the unnamed narrator’s experiences marching on Birmingham in 1963. The narrator’s trepidations are clear through Clark-Robinson’s words, “In a silence so loud that all I could hear was / my racing heart, we began to walk”. These young children helped play a role in ending segregation laws, just as our children — with parent permission and support — also have the ability to make a difference in our world today. The illustrations by Frank Morrison have a Norman Rockwell vibe in that they show the inner life of those portrayed that runs the gamut of poignant to joyful or vice versa in one picture. They vividly support Clarke-Robinson’s poetic and figurative text.
This is an inspiring read that could empower your children with the knowledge they too can make a big difference! For St. Nicks Alliance’s continued Family Literacy lessons, Ms. Laura and Ms. Pamela Bradley shared a read aloud of Let the Children March.