cover image Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961

Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961

Larry Dame Brimner. Calkins Creek, $17.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-62979-586-7

Using a straightforward, present-tense narrative and a diary-style format, Brimner (The Rain Wizard) recounts the first freedom ride of the civil rights movement. After opening with a recap of several landmark court cases that affected civil rights for African-Americans, the third-person retrospective begins a day-by-day account of the bus journey in May 1961: “They are men and women, young and old, black and white. They are people with a plan.... They are prepared for the unexpected.” The 13 riders, all promising nonviolence, left Washington, D.C., aboard two buses bound for Louisiana in an effort to integrate interstate travel facilities. The further south they traveled, the more violent local reaction became. Black typeface on white pages alternates with white typeface against black backdrops to stark effect, and words taken from quotations, segregation signs, or slogans from the ride occasionally pop out from the pages. Archival photos depict the ride and violent confrontations, including the firebombing of one bus. This well-researched and accessible account of a precedent-setting protest ends with an epilogue, updates on the 13 riders, a bibliography, source notes, and index. Ages 10–up. (Nov.)