by Angela Joy; illustrated by Janelle Washington
This moving portrait of Mamie Till-Mobley depicts the courage of an individual whose strength in the face of terrible injustice galvanized the Civil Rights Movement. When her son, Emmett Till, was murdered in the summer of 1955 at age 14, Mamie Till-Mobley insisted on an open-casket funeral so that the world confront the truth of what had happened. This picture book biography not only treats Till's murder with age-appropriate sensitivity, it contextualizes this event among the other challenges and triumphs of Mamie Till-Mobley's life. She was the first African-American to graduate at the top of her class. She survived an abusive marriage and nursed her young son through polio. Even after his killers were allowed to go free, she continued to fight for justice for Emmett and for “sons and daughters still living.” By introducing readers to the story of Emmett Till's death through the events of his mother's life, Angela Joy's rhythmic language reveals the depths of a woman who chose the braver and harder option many times. Janelle Washington's cut paper illustrations compliment the text, capturing a nuanced range of emotions in her picture book debut. Additional back matter completes this exceptional work of nonfiction. (The publisher recommends this book for ages 8-12.)
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages.