Loving vs. Virginia - Patricia Hruby Powell (Author) & Shadra Strickland (Illus.)

From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.

At first glance, from the title and the description, this book appears to be about the landmark case for interracial marriage to become legal throughout the United States of America. Powell's work, however, is actually much more focused on the couple behind the lawsuit(s), Richard and Millie. Although many people have heard of the case and perhaps a little bit of the background, this book emphasizes the human story behind it all, through personal anecdotes, primary sources such as newspaper articles and court proceedings, and gorgeous blank verse.

Complemented by Strickland's illustrations and real photographs from the the 1950s, this book will turn heads and change lives. Powell's research is meticulous and informs the text incredibly well, though the overall book never feels like a textbook. Instead, the language is spare and poetic, focusing only on the essential, never becoming wordy or unnecessarily didactic.

Richard takes
my hand
now we're
strolling—
makes me feel like
I belong
right next to him.

Floyd's got his arm
draped over
Garnet's shoulder
up ahead

People looking
at them
Or maybe no.
Maybe they're looking at us—
Richard and me.
No matter.

This book would be a great resource for classrooms, whether specific to history or civil rights, or to a larger classroom library. Teachers and students would benefit greatly from having this book incorporated into classroom studies in some way. I Highly Recommend this title!!

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out Feb. 2017)

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