Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Super Star Children's Book Review: The Case For Loving

Bird Meets Worm is excited to announce the debut of our NEW monthly children’s book review feature with a focus on diverse books!

We are defining diverse books as representing all diverse experiences and backgrounds. That means we will be championing books celebrating everything from gender diversity, people of color, the LGBTQ community to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, people with disabilities and developmental challenges to controversial topics, unique family situations and anything and everything I did not include. It is to say we take a rightfully board view of diversity!! We aim to shine a light on books that bring both familiar experiences to those who do not often see themselves represented in books and new experiences to those looking to expand their worldview. Here at Bird Meets Worm we believe in the power of story to build empathy and thus a better world for you and me and everyone.

And the best part? It will always appear on the second Wednesday of the month, every month! And I’m thrilled to share that I will am teaming up with a group of super talented voices from the kidlit community for this venture. I’m pleased to announce that the Bird Meets Worm book review team will include:

Cara Chow is the author of Bitter Melon, a Chinese-American, coming of age, love-hate, mother-daughter story, which made the 2011 YALSA Best Fiction list. She is currently working on a picture book, which tells the story of how her 7-year old son, who is on the autism spectrum, overcame crippling anxiety with the help of his family and team to play hockey on a track 1 travel team. Cara also helps organize and run the annual book fair at her son’s school. 

Denise Holmes is the illustrator of If I Wrote A Book About You (Simply Read Books) 2012 and Phoebe Sounds It Out (OwlKids Books) 2017 as well as 5 other picture books and activity books. She has been illustrating professionally for the past 10 years and is represented by Nicole Tugeau of T2 Illustrators. Clients include Simply Read Books, Roost Books, Albert Whitman & Co., and OwlKids Books. She lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and daughter.

Jane Smith is an illustrator and designer, who creates artwork for a wide variety of publishing and art licensing clients. She is the author/illustrator of the Chloe Zoe picture book series, published by Albert Whitman & Co. and is represented by Nicole Tugeau of T2 Children’s Illustrators. Her background includes art directing and designing novelty children’s books as an Art Director at Intervisual Books. Jane lives with her husband and daughter in Wilmington, NC.

Joan Charles is an artist, illustrator, and life-long reader. In addition to illustrating the award-winning Lexicon novels for middle grade readers, Joan has created art for children's books and magazines, galleries, exhibitions, and for private collectors. She believes that the power in our stories can change the world.

Sharon Calle is an artist and K-12 certified art educator. She has taught in public schools for nearly a decade and now teaches art through her small business, ARTSi Studio. Sharon loves sharing picture books with young artists to inspire creative projects. She’s always looking for books that reflect the rich cultural backgrounds of her students. She lives in woodsy Randolph, NJ with her chef husband and a growing collection of picture books.

So are you excited yet?! Here we go—


The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage
By Selina Alko • Illustrated By Sean Qualls & Selina Alko
Non-fiction picture book (ages 4-8) • 32 pages
Published by Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books • 2015
ISBN 978-0-545-47853-3

This biographical story begins as many stories do: “First comes love. Then comes marriage.” But for Richard and Mildred Loving, what came next was not so simple.

Husband and wife team, Sean Qualls and Selina Alko, blend their artistic voices to tell the history of the Loving’s marriage that lead to the landmark Supreme court case that made interracial marriage legal in 1967. Their illustrations are light, flowing and whimsical, incorporating classic iconography of “love,” like hearts, stars, birds and flowers, at every turn. In this way, the love of Richard and Mildred is truly visual and serves as a tangible thread as Alko gently, but firmly leads us first across states lines for the Loving’s legal marriage, back to their home state of Virgina, where their marriage was not recognized by the state, to their shocking arrest for “unlawful cohabitation,” and to their necessary move across state lines to preserve their marriage and their freedom. The injustice is plain to see and children will feel it in their guts. And they will celebrate, too, as the Supreme court honors the Loving’s marriage and they are finally able to return home. This is a powerful introduction to civil rights activism, because it brings the Loving’s journey right to the audience’s heart with its strong sense of love, family, and what it means to be home.

Informative and detailed back matter provides further reading and shines a beautiful light on Alko and Qualls’ unique collaboration as an interracial couple, who created this book from a place of deep & sincere gratitude.

Buy this book:

Reviewed by: Jane Smith