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.
Written by Selina Alko
Illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
Published by Arthur A Levine Books (2015)
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)