cover image Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist

Philip Dray, , illus. by Stephen Alcorn. . Peachtree, $18.95 (44pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-417-4

Dray, a Pulitzer finalist for At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America , brings his expertise to a younger audience with this eloquent biography of anti-lynching crusader and journalist Ida B. Wells. A narrative peppered with anecdotes guides readers through defining moments of Wells's life, from her 1884 lawsuit against a railroad company whose Jim Crow policies prevented her, a black woman, from riding in the first-class compartment, to her growing career as a newspaper columnist, to the 1892 lynching of her close friend. Alcorn's (Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters ) striking, symbol-infused hand-colored prints on creamy vellum get star billing. A large trim size accommodates the stylized illustrations, soaring vignettes in muted hues that portray a statuesque and self-assured Wells. Fluid lines swirl or jut across spreads, establishing a brisk visual pace. In one scene, a hand extended from a fancy sleeve labeled “Whites Only” pushes down an African-American man wearing overalls. In another, Wells the writer drifts from an ink bottle like a genie from a lamp, the spectral-shaped black ink forming her dress. Author notes, a timeline and more enhance this age-appropriate introduction to difficult issues and the woman who educated the world about them. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)