Paula Young Shelton, illustrated by Raul Colón,
Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Schwartz & Wade, 2010.
Paula Young Shelton, daughter of Andrew Young, looks at the Civil Rights Movement from a child's point of view in an engaging narrative grounded in her own experiences. Shelton’s account is divided into titled sections that begin with "Going Home," detailing her family’s move from New York back to the south and young Paula’s introduction to Jim Crow. “My First Protest” describes what happened at a restaurant that refused to seat her family because they were Black: “I was so hungry that I started crying. But they wouldn’t let us in . . . Mama and Daddy didn’t try to stop me; they simply sat me down and let me cry. And did I ever!” Additional sections introduce figures of the Civil Rights Movement who were part of Paula’s childhood, whether it was Martin Luther King, Jr., and his family joining hers for a swim, or a house full of activists arguing next steps as Paula listens to the symphony of voices from beneath the kitchen table. (Brief information about each individual is provided in the back matter.) Shelton concludes with her family’s participation in the Selma to Montgomery March that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act, which she watched being signed on TV. Textured, sepia-toned illustrations by Raul Colón conveys a sense of the past, including a host of recognizable faces, in this welcome, child-centered reminiscence that is both personal and informative.