The fourth graders and I read The Case for Loving, written by Selina Alko and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.
"This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state's laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents' love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court and won!"
The Case for Loving is a well-written and empowering story made more powerful by beautiful and engaging illustrations. This books has many interesting layers -- Selina Alko and Sean Qualls are an interracial couple themselves and they collaborated on the art making it a marriage of a different kind. It's well worth it to read the notes at the end explaining their story and the marriage of their art. They also note that we are still fighting for marriage equality for all, which my students brought up before even reading the notes. The fight goes on!
Here is a peak at some of my favorite pages.
The occasional use of bold red type emphasizes important moments in the Lovings' story.
Alko's description of the community in which the Lovings grew up (Central Point, Virginia) captures its diversity in a way that the students could relate - "where people of every shade from the color of chamomile tea to summer midnight made their homes."
The joy that Mildred felt is evident here.
Selina and Sean have captured so much in body language, attire, and expression here.
Light, shadow, color, and expressions make this scene resonate.
The detail on the dresser is very cool, but also effectivly draws the eye toward Mildred's expression.
Again, effective use of color and style of print to emphasize the key ideas.
The diversity of the crowd protesting is important. The times they were a-changin'.
We had a powerful discussion after reading the story. The fourth graders are in the midst of a unit on the Civil Rights Movement, so this was a particularly fitting time to share this book. Part of the students' work is to put the events into a timeline and into a broader historical perspective. Last week we read Separate is Never Equal. Both of the books help the students to see how individual people can effect change as well as how individual states were slowly changing laws before the country as a whole.