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Mock Newbery 2018: Two Informational Books: The March Against Fear AND Undefeated

by Teresa Walls | Jan 02, 2018

Informational books are also under consideration for the Newbery Medal. Two of the informational books we will discuss for the Allen County Public Library’s Mock Newbery Discussion and Election are important yet difficult books about racism and violent, painful times in the United States.


The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum
National Geographic, 2017
143 pages

The March against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum details the last protest of the civil rights era. James Meredith, an African-American man, decided to walk through his home state of Mississippi and encourage African-Americans to register to vote. It was June 1966. African-Americans had the legal right to vote, but in many areas, especially in the American South, they were kept from that right. One day into the walk, Meredith was shot and wounded in a roadside ambush. Martin Luther King, Jr., and several other civil rights leaders of the time, decided to continue the walk and encourage voter registration.

Bausum takes an unflinching look at the historical record and presents it without censorship. The photos and quotations throughout the book add to the telling. Following a confrontation with state troopers in Canton, Mississippi, Floyd McKissick of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) told marchers: "They don't call it white power. They just call it power. I'm committed to non-violence, but I say what we need is to get us some black power." (p.88)

Power and freedom, two words that are the rallying cries during the March against Fear, were denied to Native Americans, too.

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin not only tells the story of super athlete Jim Thorpe and the beginnings of American football, but it also describes the school that was designed by the U.S. government to erase Native American cultures.

book cover of Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steven Sheinkin
Roaring Brook Press, 2017
280 pages

The treatment of Native American children in an attempt to "civilize" them was terrible. Football and other sports were ways for these children to leave the day-to-day grind of the military-style school where they were punished for such things as speaking in their native languages. Sheinkin's writing is griping, even if you aren't knowledgeable of, or interested, for that matter, in American football. The Carlisle Indians were constantly up against stereotypes, dirty players, and unfair referees.

When a ref's call went against Carlisle, Welch [the team's quarterback] knew how to ease the anger with bitter humor. "What's the use of crying about a few inches," he'd tell teammates in the huddle, "When the white man has taken the whole country?" (p. 146)

The Newbery Medal age range is from birth up to age 14. Both of these titles lean toward the upper range of that spectrum. Both include extensive source notes and bibliographies.

I can't wait to talk about these books at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of these titles.

Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

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