Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

By: Jonah Winter

Illustrator: Shane W. Evans

As Lillian, one-hundred-years old, walks to the polls, she remembers "the long haul up that steep hill" that her African American ancestors climbed to achieve U.S. voting rights. Author's note. Full-color illustrations rendered in mixed media.

ISBN: 9780385390293

JLG Release: Sep 2015


Sensitive Areas: Discrimination, Partial nudity, Depiction of a slave auction, Depiction of a burning cross
Topics: Voting , African Americans , American history , Civil rights

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Awards & Honors

2016 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Honor Younger Children
Finalist for the 2015 Kirkus Prize
Capitol Choices 2016
Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2015, Picture Books
Booklist Best Picture Books of 2015
ALA Notable Books for Children 2016, Younger Readers
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2015, Informational Books for Younger Readers
2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, K–2
2016 CCBC Choices–Picture Books for School-Age Children
2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Fiction Picture Books
Best Multicultural Books of 2015
Booklist Top 10 Books for Youth 2016, Historical Fiction
Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of 2016, Historical Fiction

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Lillian may be old, but it’s Voting Day, and she’s going to vote. As she climbs the hill (both metaphorical and literal) to the courthouse, she sees her family’s history and the history of the fight for voting rights unfold before her, from her great-great-grandparents being sold as slaves to the three
[STARRED REVIEW]
Lillian may be old, but it’s Voting Day, and she’s going to vote. As she climbs the hill (both metaphorical and literal) to the courthouse, she sees her family’s history and the history of the fight for voting rights unfold before her, from her great-great-grandparents being sold as slaves to the three marches across Selma’s famous bridge. Winter writes in a well-pitched, oral language style (“my, but that hill is steep”), and the vocabulary, sentence structure, and font make the book well-suited both for independent reading and for sharing aloud. The illustrations, though, are what truly distinguish this offering. Lillian is portrayed in resolute left-to-right motion, and her present-day, bright red dress contrasts with the faded greens, blues, and grays of the past, sometimes in a direct overlay. A bright yellow sun, which readers may recognize from Evans’s illustrations in Charles R. Smith Jr.’s 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World (Roaring Brook, 2015), symbolizes hope as it travels across the sky. The story concludes on an emphatic note, with a close-up of Lillian’s hand on the ballot lever. An author’s note provides historical context, including information about the woman who inspired Lillian (Lillian Allen, who in 2008 at age 100 voted for Barack Obama), and ends by reminding readers that protecting voting rights is still an ongoing issue. VERDICT A powerful historical picture book.—Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ

Horn Book

On the opening (end paper) double-page spread, centenarian Lillian stands at the base of a hill that leads to her polling place. She takes small, slow, determined steps up, all the while contemplating the metaphorical steps taken by her predecessors that afforded her the right to vote today. In her mind’s eye she sees her “great-great-g On the opening (end paper) double-page spread, centenarian Lillian stands at the base of a hill that leads to her polling place. She takes small, slow, determined steps up, all the while contemplating the metaphorical steps taken by her predecessors that afforded her the right to vote today. In her mind’s eye she sees her “great-great-grandparents Elijah and Sarah…standing side by side on an auction block”; “her great-grandpa Edmund . . . forced to pick cotton from daybreak to nightfall—right here in this country where it is written that ‘all men are created equal’”; “the cross burning on the lawn of her girlhood home, set aflame . . . just because her parents want to vote.” Winter weaves a good amount of African American history and civil rights information throughout his earnest tale of one family’s tragedies and triumphs: “Though her feet and legs ache with one hundred years of walking, what fuels her ancient body is seeing those six hundred people beginning a peaceful protest march from Selma to Montgomery—people who, though they don’t know it yet, will be stopped on a bridge in Selma by policemen with clubs.” Evans’s distinctive angular, textured mixed-media illustrations spotlight Lillian’s family members and the tale’s historical eras; purple-clad Lillian also appears in every scene, moving steadily onward and upward in order to claim her own place in history. An appended author’s note tells more about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 then and now. Pair this with Bandy, Stein, and Ransome’s Granddaddy’s Turn (rev. 7/15). elissa gershowitz

Book Details

ISBN

9780385390293

First Release

September 2015

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

Page Count

40

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.6; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 8.2; Points: 2;

Lexile

Level 1030L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Library edition with trade jacket added

Publisher

Schwartz & Wade

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Discrimination, Partial nudity, Depiction of a slave auction, Depiction of a burning cross

Topics

Voting, African Americans, American history, Civil rights,

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