Back of Book:
Ethel Payne always had an ear for stories. Seeking truth, justice, and equality, Ethel followed stories from her school newspaper in Chicago to Japan during World War II. It even led her to the White House briefing room, where she broke barriers as the only black female journalist. Ethel wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions of presidents, elected officials, or anyone else in charge, earning her the title, “First Lady of the Black Press.”
Lesa Cline-Ransome has a gift of bringing historical stories to life. I am always excited to see who she is going to write about next. I had never heard of Ethel Payne, and am so excited that Lesa shared her amazing story.
Ethel Payne grew up loving libraries and memorizing passages in books. She walked a mile to school every day while neighbors yelled and threw rocks at the girl who dared to attend classes with white children. When Ethel grew up, she became a writer fighting racism and injustice. She set her sights on topics that others didn’t discuss. Eventually, Ethel was one of only three black journalists who was issued a White House press pass. She continued to ask Presidents questions about racism, and write articles about Civil Rights. Lesa did a fantastic of introducing readers to an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement. The back of the book has more information about Ethel as well as a photo. There is also a selected biography and further reading. The illustrations by John Parra are done with acrylic paint and beautifully capture Ethel’s story. Each illustration is filled with small and intricate details that bring the story to life.
This is a terrific nonfiction narrative that celebrates black history, and the strength of one very impressive woman.
Ages 6 and up
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