Sunday, January 15, 2017


On this January week-end that marks Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, it would be a relevant time to talk about the graphic novel March by Representative John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell.  Given the blatantly racist and hateful statements being said about Representative John Lewis on social media, it is a necessary time to talk about this graphic novel series.

Have you read a graphic novel?  I've been an avid graphic novel reader for a few years now and I've had the benefit of librarian colleagues who have introduced me to this fine category of books.  So I had the good fortune to know about March when volume 1 came out and then eagerly awaited volumes 2 and 3.  I devoured volume 3 when it came out this summer and it has been on my mind frequently since I read it.

The history contained in these three books is history every American should know.  I knew the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, but I did not know that even as the legislation was being signed that a circuit judge in Alabama issued an injunction against public assembly in Selma to stall the work of civil rights activists. I did not know of the arrests,beatings, shootings, church burnings, and bombings that took place in the summer of 1964.  I am so grateful for these books because they illuminate why Civil Rights are essential to society and how very hard people have been working for them.

I want to talk about the illustrations.  Graphic novels are a bit of a challenge for a text monster like myself, because you have to slow down your reading pace and really look as well as read.  But the combination of words and illustration becomes irresistible, and as you slow your pace you fall deeper into the narrative, and find your connection to the book proving itself in the tear that rolls down your nose and splotches the page.  One of the most compelling illustrations in book 3 is on page 225.  It shows that painful moment when you view an injury, lifting the bandage to survey the damage and check for signs of healing.  I was so deep into the book when I turned to that page that my own scalp ached.

Representative John Lewis' strength and resilience and commitment can never be doubted.  Even after being insulted, beaten, arrested, he never gave up.  Never quit.  He is 76 years old and serves as U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district and he has written a series of books that will inspire and educate generations.  

The visual storytelling of this series is fascinating.  I'm deeply impressed with how Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell crafted so many important scenes and poured a great deal of content into a highly engaging presentation.  My favorite spread is on pages 186-187.  I love every detail on those pages.  I'm not going to post another word about them though--you've got to see them for yourself.  

Go get it!  What are you waiting for?  Don't be a lazypants and order it from Scamazon though.  Use the Indiebound page to find out which local bookstores have it:

Or you can be really daring and go to a comic book store and ask for it.  

Or see if a copy is available at your local library.  

If you live in one of the country's many book deserts or if you want to order a digital copy of it, or the slipcased edition, please go to the publisher's website:

Get it, read it, and let's talk about it. 

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