March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Copyright Date: 2013
Reading Age: 13-16
Reading Level: Grades 9-12
Awards: Coretta Scott King Book Awards
Genre: Young Adult Nonfiction Comic
Subgenre: Biography, Historical
Imagine being beaten, gassed, arrested, and almost killed because you are participating in a peaceful protest for equal rights. March: Book One explores the story of John Lewis from a sharecropper's son to Civil Rights leader. Lewis' tale continues through his work and becoming a Congressman in the following books, March: Book Two through Four. In book one, the reader sees his time going to a segregated school in Alabama, meeting Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, becoming the youngest leader of the Civil Rights Movement, and ending up at City Hall, fighting to end segregation.
This book, as well as its sequels March: Book Two through Four, shows John Lewis' experiences through graphic novel form. Following his early life through the Civil Right's Movement, this book is a first-hand account of this historical period brought into sharp focus through art and writing. A vivid story told through words and art, March is not only John Lewis' memoir, it is also an exploration of the Civil Right's Movement itself. Lewis originally dreamed of becoming a preacher. Soon though, he began to hear a different calling. He organized the lunch counter sit-in and became the founder of the Students’ Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. The art conveys the 1960s feel the story is discussing with stylized paintings and vibrant colors. Images contain movement and drama, reflecting the feeling of being in a protest and the crowds and violence that went along with it. This is a part of history where the players involved are beginning to no longer be around, so portraying these events is becoming more important. While the world lost John Lewis in 2020, his impact in society continues. The graphic novels in the March series can help to continue his legacy.
Before becoming a Congressman, John Lewis was the youngest leader of the Civil Rights Movement and marched side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is the beginning of Lewis' story.
About the Authors
John Lewis, in full John Robert Lewis, (born February 21, 1940, near Troy, Alabama, U.S.—died July 17, 2020, Atlanta, Georgia), American civil rights leader and politician best known for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC) and for leading the march that was halted by police violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Lewis was the son of Alabama sharecroppers. He attended segregated schools and was encouraged by his parents not to challenge the inequities of the Jim Crow South. As a teenager, however, he was inspired by the courageous defiance of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., to whose attention Lewis came when he indicated his desire to desegregate Troy State College (now Troy University). Dissuaded from doing so by his parents, Lewis instead was educated in Nashville at the American Baptist Theological Institute and Fisk University (B.A. in religion and philosophy, 1967).
After leaving the SNCC, Lewis, who had made his home in Atlanta, remained active in the civil rights movement, most notably as the director of the Voter Education Project. In 1977 a fellow Georgian, Pres. Jimmy Carter, put Lewis in charge of ACTION, the umbrella federal volunteer agency that included the Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America(VISTA). Lewis entered elective office as an Atlanta city councilman in 1981 and in 1986 began representing a district that included Atlanta in the U.S. House of Representatives. (About the author from here. Photo from here.)
ANDREW AYDIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a National Book Award winner, a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Honoree, a Printz Award winner, a Sibert Medal winner, a Walter Dean Myers Award winner, a two-time Eisner award winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors.
Andrew is creator and co-author of the graphic memoir series, MARCH, which chronicles the life of Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. Co-authored with Rep. Lewis and illustrated by Nate Powell, MARCH is the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award.
An Atlanta native, Andrew is a Turkish-American who was raised by a single mother. Andrew served as special assistant to Connecticut Lt. Governor Kevin B. Sullivan and district aide to Rep. John Larson before joining the staff of Rep. John Lewis in 2007 where Andrew served in several capacities including campaign communications director and digital director & policy advisor until his passing in 2020.
A graduate of Trinity College in Hartford and Georgetown University in Washington, Andrew wrote his master’s thesis on the history and impact of Martin Luther King & The Montgomery Story. Andrew frequently lectures at schools, universities, conferences, and events as well as participating in reading programs with incarcerated youth. (About the author and image from here.)
Nate Powell (b. 1978, Little Rock, Arkansas) is the first cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award. He began self-publishing at age 14, and graduated from School of Visual Arts in 2000.
His work includes the new graphic memoir/essay Save It For Later, Eisner-nominated Ozark horror tale Come Again, civil rights icon John Lewis' March trilogy, comics essay About Face, Two Dead, Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole, The Silence Of Our Friends, and Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero.
Powell’s work has also received a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, three Eisner Awards, two Ignatz Awards, four YALSA Great Graphic Novels For Teens selections, and two Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist selections.
Powell has discussed his work at the United Nations, as well as on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, CNN, PBS, and Free Speech TV.
He lives in Bloomington, Indiana and is currently creating a graphic adaptation of James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me (2023) as well as his next solo graphic novel, Fall Through (2024). (About the artist and image from here.)
Discuss John Lewis' journey from peaceful protestor to Congressman.
This was the first graphic novel showcased on The Colbert Report. Talk about that episode and why Colbert chose to focus on this book.
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This book, as well as its sequels March: Book Two through Four, shows John Lewis' experiences through graphic novel form. Following his early life through the Civil Right's Movement, this book is a first-hand account of this historical period brought into sharp focus through art and writing.