We Shall Overcome…a new series about the Civil Rights movement


We Shall Overcome (series). North Mankato: Capstone Press, 2015. 32 p. $26.65. Gr. 4 and up.

Krumm, Brian. The Little Rock Nine: A Primary Source Exploration of the Battle for School Integration. 978-1-4914-0225-2.

Schwartz, Heather E. The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Primary Source Exploration of the Landmark Legislation. 978-1-4914-0224-5.

Schwartz, Heather E. Freedom Riders: A Primary Source Exploration of the Struggle for Racial Justice. 978-1-4914-0222-1.

Schwartz, Heather E. The March on Washington: A Primary Source Exploration of the Pivotal Protest. 978-1-4914-0225-2.

This wonderful new series for upper elementary and middle grade readers covers landmark events in Civil Rights history with a focus on primary source material. Short, reader-friendly chapters cover the background, the event itself, and its impact with text, archival photographs, fact boxes, and special bolded vocabulary defined on the page and in the Glossary. For example, Freedom Riders features a photo of a drinking fountain in a segregated streetcar terminal, definitions of “integrate” and “intimidate,” and a 1961 editorial praising the police treatment of Freedom Riders who had been jailed and beaten. Throughout the text, primary source quotes appear in blue, italic typeface to cue the reader that they are reading a quote or excerpt from the time period. Overall, these books make complicated events both clearly understandable and highly interesting. A Selected Bibliography, critical thinking questions that are linked to the Common Core, and a link out to FactHound.com (using the book’s ISBN) round out the back matter.

323.1; American History, Civil Rights            Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School

I reviewed Freedom Riders, but based on this title alone, I will definitely purchase the complete series for my library. Using series such as this one, which is designed for younger students, is a great way to differentiate research materials for struggling teen readers. This series definitely fills in some holes in my collection with accessible coverage of these topics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *