Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

Patricia Hruby Powell, illus. by Shadra Strickland. Chronicle, $21.99 (260p) ISBN 978-1-4521-2590-9

Powell (Josephine) delivers a well-researched novel in verse, set over 15 years, about Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple whose marriage led to the United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute. Amid photographs, interludes that touch on relevant topics (school segregation, the Freedom Riders, etc.), and Strickland’s editorial-style two-color artwork, Powell explores the personal and emotional story of a young couple whose only desire is to raise a healthy and happy family in the state where they were both born. Powell’s verse alternates between Mildred and Richard’s perspectives, concisely revealing their fears and mutual dedication, particularly after Mildred becomes pregnant, they marry, and are arrested (“From high school/ to wedding/ to prison./ After two days/ my mama comes to visit./ I try not to cry, but I cry real easy/ these days”). This is an excellent starter book for those interested in learning the basics of the civil rights movement as Powell thoughtfully traces the events leading up to the Lovings’ case. Ages 12–up. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Olswanger Literary. (Jan.)