Author Hester Bass, writer of well-known book, The Secret World of Walter Anderson, recently released her new book, Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama. This non-fiction picture book is an excellent representation of the events of the Civil Rights movement in Huntsville. The story presents the idea that planting seeds is relatable to the Civil Rights movement and victories of Huntsville. Bass, who happened to live in Huntsville for a short period, weaves together stories of sit-ins, the arrest of women and mothers, “Blue-Jean Sundays”, tells of the reversed segregation that occurred in Huntsville, and much more. The extensive knowledge that Bass offers in the book suggests that her research prior to writing was comprehensive and complete. We should not be surprised if the book collects noteworthy awards and accolades in the coming year. As a non-fiction picture book, this book would be an excellent addition to any classroom asa supplement to a Civil Rights movement unit.
Bass was actually able to work closely with illustrator E.B. Lewis while working on Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama, which is uncommon in children’s literature. Although she made a few suggestions here and there, Lewis stuck to his very unique and complex illustrating process. He starts with photographs of real life scenes and then uses water colors to illustrate based on the photographs. For this book, he traveled to Huntsville, Alabama where he was able to photograph family members of those people referenced in the book–keeping the historical accuracy that Bass started. The water colors are very accurate and also aesthetically pleasing, could Lewis be up for the 2016 Caldecott Medal?
Take advantage of this marvelous new picture book and check it out on this marvelous Monday! Sarah Borton and Jessica Bloomrosen