I knew very little about Voices of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement before checking it out from my public library. Nor did I know much about its titular hero. I am thankful to author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes for telling Fannie’s story and sharing this book with the world.
Here are three things I like about this book:
- I love that it reads like a mini novel-in-verse. In a compilation of 21 illustrated poems, this book manages to give the reader a sweeping survey of Fannie Lou Hamer’s life. Weatherford’s language is exquisite, and the book earned a Sibert Honor, which recognizes achievement in nonfiction books for young people.
- Ekua Holmes painting and collage artwork is rich with color and intricate in detail. Holmes received a Caldecott Honor for Voices of Freedom, which is an amazing feat for a debut picture book.
- I love that this is a picture book made for older readers. I think we forget that tweens benefit from the beautiful artwork and rich language that we find in picture books.
I believe Voices of Freedom is best for readers ages 10 and up. Younger kids could also listen along, but I think a slightly more mature audience will benefit more from the content. This book would make a wonderful addition to any U. S. History curriculum or study on the Civil Rights in the United States.