I don't believe in New Year's resolutions very much. I believe more in setting goals and trying to find ways to achieve them. When I reflected on 2017 and what I hoped to do in 2018, one thing I really wanted to do this year is read more.
I love books. One of my favorite things to do as a child was go to the library. (Nerd alert!) I love the smell of books, the texture of pages, the stories and worlds I can visit through the words and imaginations of great storytellers.
This month I read nine books. Some of them were short (around 100 pages). Others were longer. The main thing to note: when it comes to books, it's not always the page quantity that's important, it's the quality.
One such instance is the book series "March" by John Lewis (yes, the Congressman), Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. There are three books in the series and every one of them is worth the read.
I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't read this series before. Last year, after a certain someone criticized Congressman Lewis as "All talk, talk, talk, no action," Amazon sales of "March" skyrocketed in support of Lewis, and with good reason. I wanted to read the books then but, not surprisingly, they were all checked out of every local library branch.
Lewis was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders. He was one of the speakers at the 1963 March on Washington. (Yes, there were more speeches than "I Have a Dream.") He marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He was beaten and jailed time and again and, somehow, still practiced and preached about peaceful protest, love for those who stood against him, and freedom for all.
1963 March on Washington, from "March: Book Two" by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell. © 2015. Top Shelf Productions.
"March" encapsulates Lewis' memories of a turbulent time in the United States and his reflection of those events on the day of Barack Obama's first Presidential inauguration.
The books are written as graphic novels and are powerfully illustrated by Nate Powell. Though many adults shun picture books as childish, that is absolutely not the case here. These are books with a message and history lessons that are too often forgotten.
In these trying times, when the right to vote is still being challenged in certain areas, when people's lives are on the line because of the color of their skin or where they were born, when so many are fearful of the day to day, "March" reminds me that our country has seen hard times before. It is with a great deal of gratitude to men and women, like John Lewis, that we can hope for change to our democracy and become passionate about continuing to form a more perfect union.
The complete "March" trilogy is available in print and in eBook format. Books two and three are also currently available through Hoopla. Read them. Share them. Read them again.