Who could resist a children’s book called Preaching to the Chickens? Maria Popova at Brainpickings, my favorite source for children’s book recommendations, wrote about it just before Christmas.
Popova said, “Civil rights icon and nonviolent resistance leader John Lewis (b. February 21, 1940) is rightly celebrated as a true ‘healer of the heart of democracy.’ He is also a testament to how the humblest beginnings can produce lives of towering heroism. Long before Congressman Lewis became a key figure in ending racial segregation in America, little John was one of nine siblings living on the family’s farm in southern Alabama. It was in that unlikely environment, heavy with labor and love, that young Lewis found his voice as a leader.
“Writer Jabari Asim and illustrator E.B. Lewis tell the improbable and inspiring origin story of this largehearted legend in Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis. …
“One day, John is put in charge of the chickens and so begins his foray into leadership. His heart ablaze with the dream of becoming a preacher, the boy begins practicing before his willing — or, at least, tacitly agreeable — avian audience. E.B. Lewis’s luminous watercolors are the perfect complement to Asim’s lyrical prose, which together carry the story of how John Lewis incubated his talent for wielding words that move and mobilize mind, body, and spirit.”
Read more at Brainpickings, here. Popova, as usual, suggests other books that would make a good complement to this one.
Art: E.B. Lewis
A young John Lewis hones his oratory.