West Hill Reads: Winter 2020

  Community Interest

by Cindy Subjeck

Happy 2020 and welcome to our new feature, “West Hill Reads”! It is in the spirit of community that West Hill Community Association (WHCA) and King County Library System (KCLS) are working together to make literary recommendations featuring historically significant events that are important to our community. The goal is to inform, engage, and to educate the younger population of Skyway and the entire unincorporated West Hill area.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is right around the corner, and on this day, as we celebrate his accomplishments and honor his memory, hopefully, we can squeeze in some reading time for the following recommendations. These reads are an inspiration to us all to Dream Big and to never give up on them. We hope that you enjoy these!


A Sweet Smell of Roses book cover

A Sweet Smell of Roses
by Angela Johnson (author) and Eric Velasquez (illustrator)

Recommended Age: 5 – 8
Published: 2004

There’s a sweet, sweet smell in the air as two young girls sneak out of their house, down the street, and across town to where men and women are gathered, ready to march for freedom and justice.

Inspired by the countless young people who took a stand against the forces of injustice, two Coretta Scott King Honorees, Angela Johnson and Eric Velasquez, offer a stirring yet jubilant glimpse of the youth involvement that played an invaluable role in the Civil Rights movement.

From A Mighty Girl

I Am Martin Luther King, Jr book cover

I am Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Brad Meltzer (author) and Christopher Eliopoulos (illustrator)

Recommended Age: 6-11
Published: 2016

Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it—peacefully, with powerful words. He helped gather people together for nonviolent protests and marches, and he always spoke up about loving other human beings and doing what’s right. He spoke about the dream of a kinder future, and bravely led the way toward racial equality in America.

From Penguin Random House

The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander (author) and Kadir Nelson (illustrator)

Recommended Age: 6-9
Published: 2019

Each movement of Alexander’s poem is a tribute to the ingenuity and resilience of black people in the U.S., with textual references to the writings of Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, and Malcolm X dotting stanzas in explicit recognition and grateful admiration.

From Kirkus Reviews

March: Book One

by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin (author) and Nate Powell (illustrator)

Recommended Age: 13-18
Published: 2013

Congressman John Lewis helped plan the [1963 March on Washington], and on the eve of its 50th anniversary, he’s collaborating with his staffer (and comics aficionado) Andrew Aydin to write March: Book One, an astonishingly accomplished graphic memoir that brings to life a vivid portrait of the civil rights era, Lewis’ extraordinary history and accomplishments, and the movement he helped lead.

From NPR

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist

by Cynthia Levinson (author) and Vanessa Brantley-Newton (illustrator)

Recommended Age: 8-11
Published: 2017

Moving briskly through events, Levinson explains how the young Hendricks was eager to stand up to segregation, marching alongside thousands of fellow students, who were subsequently arrested.

From Publisher’s Weekly

Let the Children March

by Monica Clark-Robinson (author) and Frank Morrison (illustrator)

Recommended Age: 6-9
Published: 2018

Monica Clark-Robinson tells one girl’s story of the 1963 children’s march on Birmingham. Frank Morrison’s illustrations are loose and modern in spirit, enlivening the history lesson. It’s understandable to want to channel Martin Luther King Jr.’s oratorical gifts when writing about him, but sometimes the metaphors strain. Still, the book’s message is clear and bracing: King understood that it’s children who will lead the way, and the man’s faith in the future is reassuring even now.

From New York Times

Hey neighbors! After you get done making your reading list, if you like having a more engaged, informed and vibrant community, you can make a huge impact by joining your neighbors in giving $5 or more a month to the leanest, hardest working all-volunteer nonprofit in the neighborhood.