2016 in [Book] Review Books Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Makings Of An Activist in “Preaching to the Chickens”

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


A few weeks back, John Lewis was featured prominently in the news, as he is now perceived as leading the charge against current US President Donald Trump. I thought it is quite timely to share this beautiful picturebook biography that showed the makings of a civil rights leader.


Preaching To The Chickens: The Story Of Young John Lewis

Written by: Jabari Asim lllustrated by: E. B. Lewis
Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016
ISBN: 0399168567 (ISBN13: 9780399168567)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

This title has been receiving a great deal of book love and for good reason. While I have yet to read the graphic novels March 1-3 and I know very little about John Lewis, I thought that this book was a good introduction to the man and his life.


I like how his impoverished background was neither romanticized nor made as the focal point of the story – it was perceived as a given and presented in a matter-of-fact fashion. The simplicity of life in a farm with the seemingly-never-ending chores are tempered with the young Lewis’ capacity to go beyond the here and now as he envisions a life beyond the farm, as he preaches about God’s work and his miracles to his flock, the chickens.


Clearly, a young boy who preaches with such a steadfast heart and a booming voice would eventually grow up to be a Congressman who would continue to fight injustice until the present time. Here is a Youtube link of John Lewis talking about his boyhood, which is exactly the snapshot from his life that Asim and Lewis tried to capture in this picturebook biography. Enjoy!

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

7 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Makings Of An Activist in “Preaching to the Chickens”

  1. It is a wonderful introduction, I agree, Myra. Everyone at all ages should know about John Lewis. Thanks!


  2. This looks wonderful. I also have not yet had a chance to read the March trilogy, but this looks like an incredibly well done book. Thanks for sharing!


  3. I love that March can be for as young as 4th graders. This would be great for younger readers so the whole family can learn about a living hero.


  4. annettepimentel

    The art in this book was so beautiful. Such a wonderful kids-eye view of a civil rights hero!


  5. Just checked this out of the library! Have it in my stack for this weekend!


  6. I NEED this book. I want my students and my son to know his story!


  7. Great review! I like the aspect of this book! 🙂


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