Books Contours of Love Early Readers Features Genre Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Making A Case for Love in Selina Alko and Sean Qualls’ “The Case For Loving”

The Case For Loving

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

We have just launched our new reading theme for January – March during New Year’s day, and I thought that this will be the perfect nonfiction title to kick off our quarterly theme.

The Case For Loving

Written by Selina Alko
Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
Published by Arthur A Levine Books (2015)
ISBN-10: 0545478537
ISBN-13: 9780545478533
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Given the changing landscape of our times, with more biracial kids claiming to be global citizens of the world, it seems unfathomable that just a few years back, this kind of freedom was not freely given, nor was it celebrated or valued – it had to be fought for.

The couple in this beautifully illustrated picturebook, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, lived in a small town of Virginia called Central Point back in the late 1950s. While their love was without frills and quite simple, getting married was anything but.

This is because interracial marriage was deemed unlawful in Virginia and sixteen other states in the US. They had to get married in a neighboring city, Washington DC, for their love to be recognized by the state. However, when they returned to their own home, they were imprisoned because of “unlawful cohabitation.” Apparently, the “purity of the White Race” needed to be maintained, hence this kind of intermarriage was against the law.

While the premise may sound absurd now, apparently there are still people who would like to go back to the Dark Ages, to make America pure and all pristine “White” once more, in the efforts to make it “great again.” Not realizing, of course, that it is precisely the validation, affirmation, and celebration of different forms of love that will make any country great – because love is love is love, full stop.

While the story, in and of itself, is already compelling, reading the Afterword brought the entire narrative into full circle, especially with this gorgeous photo of the couple Sean Qualls and Selina Alko – the creators of this picturebook that should find its way into the hands of your children or your students, right now.

For teachers who wish to make use of this in the classroom, here is a downloadable 24-paged PDF that contains more information about the US Supreme Court ruling in Loving vs Virginia, as well as various discussion guides and printable materials. Here is another youtube clip that provides more information about Richard and Mildred. Enjoy!

#LitWorld2018GB Update: 3 of 40 (United States of America)

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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).

5 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Making A Case for Love in Selina Alko and Sean Qualls’ “The Case For Loving”

  1. What a heartbreaking story – imagine being imprisoned simply because you’ve fallen in love and want to live a normal life! It’s so important that we not forget how recent this all was – only a few decades ago!


  2. lindabaie

    It is an inspiring story, and heartbreaking too considering that this happened not really so long ago. It will be a great picture book to share with students. Thanks, Myra!


  3. It’s truly crazy that certain things weren’t allowed not that long ago. How far we’ve come and how easily we can lose recent rights gained if we’re not vigilant.


  4. annettepimentel

    This is such a beautiful book!


  5. Wonderful book – I’ve met Sean Qualls and he is a fantastic man and artist!

    Liked by 1 person

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