By: Ann Malaspina
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: September 2009
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 2009
Louis stood at the bottom of the library steps glancing longingly at the books inside. It would be nice if he could count them, but that would be impossible because there was a little sign in the entrance way that said, "Whites Only." He decided he'd better move along. He had his lunch pail and a notebook in hand and he thought about that essay he was going to have to write on President Lincoln. It was 1951 and a boy should be able to borrow a book from any library in Alabama, but that wasn't going to happen any time soon. All the good stuff was reserved for white people. Heck, he couldn't even have "strawberry milkshakes at the drugstore lunch counter!"
When he got home, his Mama knew he was out of sorts, but he wouldn't say anything. He didn't even want a glass of lemonade. At school the next day Mrs. Yates was teaching them about the Civil War. She was talking about Lincoln and stated that "He dared to stand up for what he believed in, and that made a lot of people mad." Louis wanted to know more about Abe, the boy, but the book he had didn't answer any of his questions. There were no books about him at the church library either. There was only one thing left for Louis to do. Would he be brave enough to walk up those library steps?
This is a marvelous book about a young boy who finds the courage to defy a "whites only" sign and stand up for what he believed in. The storyline was heartwarming and had just the right amount of tension to make me race to the end to find out how Louis fared on his courageous venture. The sweeping artwork was gorgeous and very inspiring. In the back of the book there is an excellent, but brief overview of segregation, a short blurb on President Lincoln and additional recommended book resources.
Quill says: This is a touching tale about courage you won't want to pass up!