Last week I learned of Alyson Beecher’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge, hosted at her site Kid Lit Frenzy. I’m excited about the new source of reading recommendations, as well as a chance to share some. I’m not sure if I’ll post every week but I like the way Alyson does mini reviews, so I’ll try that approach to keep it manageable.
This is a story of the Loving family — Richard and Mildred — who were married in D.C. in the late 1950s, but lived in Virginia. The problem? Richard was black and Mildred was white, and Virginia law forbade interracial marriage. They were arrested and forced to leave their family, friends and hometown. Nine years later, though, their case resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court striking down bans on interracial marriage.
The plot focuses mostly on the Lovings’ relationship and how the unjust law affected them, making it relatable to children’s developing sense of fairness. The court case plays a more minor role (two spreads), making it seem a little magical, but overall the still a good introduction to a lesser-known story from the Civil Rights Movement. And I love the collage and paint illustrations, which are full of cutout hearts and butterflies that would match a Valentine’s Day card. (The artwork, by the way, is by a husband-and-wife team whose marriage would’ve been illegal in Virginia 60 years ago.)
Bonus material for older kids and adults: check out the 2012 HBO documentary, “The Loving Story,” on this subject. It’s available on Netflix instant and includes archival video of the Lovings. Pairing the documentary with this book is an interesting lens on different ways of telling a true story.