Schwartz & Wade. Sept. 2019. 40p. photos. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781524765330.
K-Gr 4–When six-year-old Thurgood Marshall convinced his parents to legally change his name from Thoroughgood, his future as a lawyer seemed predestined. His father took him to trials to watch legal arguments and practiced the art of vociferous debate at the dinner table. There is a stark juxtaposition between Marshall’s edifying upbringing and the society of pervasive and violent racism in which he came of age. Readers are easily able to understand how these two forces motivated Marshall to reach great legal heights. This impassioned picture book does not shy away from depicting the racism that shaped Marshall’s life. Often these examples are preceded by the capitalized word “FACT” followed by information such as the conditions in segregated schools, or the fact that a young Thurgood could hear white cops beating black suspects in the police station across the street from his school, or that his father’s forced subservience to white people provoked intense rage. Acts of segregation are labeled as “INJUSTICE,” and every victory of Marshall’s is proudly declared as “JUSTICE.” Collier’s dynamic illustrations perfectly complement the tone of Winter’s narrative. His watercolor and collage artwork effectively captures moments of both adversity and triumph. The work as a whole is informative, inspiring, and exciting.
VERDICT This is no carefully neutral biography: it is a fervent celebration of a man whose work improved the lives of millions of Americans. This stirring portrait of an American hero is recommended for first purchase.

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