Thursday, November 8, 2012

Birmingham Sunday

Birmingham Sunday
By Larry Dane Brimner, Calkins Creek, 2010, 48 pp., ISBN 978-1-59078-613-0, $17.95.
Reviewed by John E. Shaffett

This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:

Catholic Library World, Jun2011, vol.81 Issue 4, p329.
September 15, 1963, was a horrible day in our nation’s history. On that day, four children were killed when the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. Bombings happened so often in Birmingham that it was called “Bombingham.” Not till September 15, 1963, had these bombings been deadly. Why did it happen? Why was this particular church singled out? These are some of the questions Larry Dane Brimner tries to answer in his children’s book, Birmingham Sunday.

The author noted that the writing of this book was motivated by a “librarians’ call for biographies of the four children” (47) who were killed in this church bombing. Brimner was struck out often Addie Mae, Cynthia, Carole, and Denise were referred to as “the four little children,” or “the four little girls.” The author later found out that two other girls were killed that day. The author did extensive research by reading Birmingham newspapers; one of these newspapers was an African-American owned newspaper. He also reviewed FBI files, police reports and other primary sources. 

Birmingham Sunday includes “stirring” photo-essays that illuminate this event. He does a good job of describing these children’s personalities and the events that led to this horrendous crime. The text is easy to follow and there are side-bars throughout the text that give additional information on Brown v. The Board of Education, Rosa Parks, outlawed racial segregation, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other leaders and events. This book is intended for children ages 10 and up. It is the type of book that makes history come alive. 

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