Publishers Weekly Review
Powell (Josephine) delivers a well-researched novel in verse, set over 15 years, about Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple whose marriage led to the United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute. Amid photographs, interludes that touch on relevant topics (school segregation, the Freedom Riders, etc.), and Strickland's editorial-style two-color artwork, Powell explores the personal and emotional story of a young couple whose only desire is to raise a healthy and happy family in the state where they were both born. Powell's verse alternates between Mildred and Richard's perspectives, concisely revealing their fears and mutual dedication, particularly after Mildred becomes pregnant, they marry, and are arrested ("From high school/ to wedding/ to prison./ After two days/ my mama comes to visit./ I try not to cry, but I cry real easy/ these days"). This is an excellent starter book for those interested in learning the basics of the civil rights movement as Powell thoughtfully traces the events leading up to the Lovings' case. Ages 12-up. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Olswanger Literary. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-This title, depicting the individuals and events surrounding a watershed moment in U.S. civil rights history, is immediately relevant today. In 1950s Virginia, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter fell in love and wanted to marry and raise their family where they were brought up. This was a problem: Loving was white, Jeter was considered "colored," and there was a law prohibiting interracial marriage. Still, the couple married in DC anyway, and after returning to Virginia, they served jail time. After years of separation and fighting the ruling, they connected with ACLU lawyers, and in 1967 their case was heard by the Supreme Court, which unanimously overturned the previous judgment against the Lovings in a landmark ruling. Written in free verse, this docu-novel alternates perspectives between Richard and Mildred. News clippings, maps, and archival photos add immediacy and context, as do Strickland's moving illustrations, in the style of "visual journalism," which she explains in an appended note. The volume also features a time line of relevant events and an appended summary of the Lovings' lives after the case. The bibliography displays the author's extensive research, which included interviews with those who were connected to the couple, and the free-verse style personalizes the historical events, which reach directly into today's headlines. No single book can tell the whole story, of course, and this offers a rich opportunity for students and adults to discuss urgent and perennial questions: In any retelling of history, what has been left out? Is every story an open subject for every author? VERDICT A natural addition to any school or public library. With the new film Loving and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case, there will be increased attention on the Lovings' story.-Kristin Anderson, Bloomingdale Public Library, IL © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Readers meet sixth-grader Mildred Jeter, known to her family as String Bean, walking to school in 1952. Descended from African slaves and Indians, the kids in the Jeter family attend segregated schools, though in their small, racially mixed rural Virginia community, all enjoy music and square dancing together. Richard Loving enters her life as a white friend of her older brothers. As the years go by and Mildred grows up, the couple's story becomes one of love, courtship, marriage, tribulation, and triumph. The local sheriff hauls them off to jail in 1958 for violating a statute prohibiting interracial marriage. After court battles, the law is overturned in the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision known as Loving v. Virginia. Written in free verse, Powell's novel unfolds in a series of concise, evocative first-person narratives alternating between Richard and Mildred. Placing their personal stories within the broader context of the major events of the civil rights movement happening at the time, occasional sections feature archival photos as well as significant quotes. Powell's thorough research includes 10 interviews. Not seen in final form, Strickland's expressive illustrations draw on a mid-twentieth-century style. Fine, dramatic storytelling in a memorable verse format.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2016 Booklist