The National Book Awards Make a Powerful Statement

When John Lewis took the stage Wednesday night to accept the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for his graphic novel March: Book Three, the congressman was on the verge of tears. The book, co-authored with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, is the final installment in the trilogy that follows the civil rights movement through the eyes of Lewis, who was at its heart. “This is unbelievable … some of you know I grew up in rural Alabama, very poor, very few books in our home,” Lewis said, his voice shaking. “I remember in 1956, when I was 16 years old, going to the public library to get library cards, and we were told the library was for whites only and not for coloreds. And to come here and receive this honor, it’s too much.”

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