March: Book One



  • Written by: John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
  • Illustrated by: Nate Powell
  • Series: March (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions; 1st edition (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • Lexile Level: GN760L
  • Guided Reading: W

Summary: Congressman John Lewis depicts the beginning of his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. He describes growing up, and realizing how differently black people were treated in the south, where he grew up. As an older child he overheard Dr. King on the radio and felt inspired by his speech. When he was in the middle of his formal education, Brown v. Board of Ed was ruled unconstitutional, and he went to an integrated school. At this time, other things were happening in history that set off the chain of events for him to become involved with the Civil Rights Movement, at the perfect time. This graphic novel is gripping and brings dozens of emotions to an empathetic reader’s open mind.

5 keywords: Graphic Novel, Historical, Fiction, True-story, Civil Rights Movement

Common Core State Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Suggested Delivery: Read-a-Loud online/projector to see illustrations.

Electronic Resources: This video is a book trailer for the graphic novel, it is a great pre-reading activity, as it shows real examples of what students will be reading.

This video is very informative on how to read graphic novels. This should be used as a pre-reading activity, as it will help students read March. 

Website: On this website, you can enter your email address for the official teaching guide. It has wonderful literal and inferential comprehensions questions, as well as facts about the author. Studying John Lewis is one of the most prominent Civil Rights Movement Figures in current history, and for this author specifically there is a lot to learn.

Teaching Guide: This teaching guide is broken down into different categories for how you would like to teach this book. For instance, it has suggestions for Literacy, culture and historical investigation.

Key Vocabulary:

Incubator – A device that keeps eggs warm until they are ready to hatch

Comprehend – To be able to understand something

Merciful – To treat people with kindness and forgiveness

Instigator – To cause something to happen

Dehumanize – When you treat someone who is human as though they are not human

Protest – To express a strong disagreement with something or someone

Misjudged – To have an unfair opinion about someone

Painstakingly – Done with great effort

Eulogy – A speech for someone who has died

Scold – To speak critically to someone

File Suit – Take legal action against them

Moratorium – A time when a particular activity is not allowed

Reputation – A common opinion people have about someone

Biracial – Involving people of two races

Irate – Very angry

Bias – The tendency to have a wrong opinion about someone or something, and then treating them unfairly based on this wrong assumption

Bigot – A person who unfairly treats people

Prestige – The respect a person gets for being important

Before: Prior to reading the story have the students learn how to read graphic novels by watching the Youtube video. This will help them understand how the pages and illustrations are formatted on the page, so they can spend less time figuring out how to read it, and more time understanding the text and illustrations.

Teach a lesson on the Civil Rights Movement. Set the scene for how John Lewis entered the Civil Rights Movement at a very vital time., this video shows sit ins and what it was like for those that participated in these sit ins.

During: Have a discussion about Page 97. Ask the students if they could follow these rules. For what would they adhere to these rules for? Are there current day examples of social injustices?

Discuss Emmett Till. Ask if they know anything about him, or his influence on the Civil Rights Movement. Explain his open casket, and how he was brutally murdered (obviously adjust this to the age group). Build schema and connections to this and the book. Explain why Emmett Till’s murder got so much attention (Northerners were shocked, as lynchings were normally not covered by national news outlets because they were normal in the South, so his murder was brought back to Chicago where people were astounded).

After: Have students discuss the authors use of hyperbole, similes, and idioms in this text. There are examples on page, 38, 42, 53, 56, 98, 101, and 109. Have them write the sentence and phrase and break it down. What is the author trying to say? What is the page talking about (context)? What could this mean? What are the possible words that I could change for this one? Try out those words and see what fits. To help students who may need extra support, read the passages to them using intonation so that it is easier to decipher.

Writing Activity: Writing prompt:

Why do you think that certain government officials did not want to pass laws on desegregation? What clues from the novel back up your statements? Do you think they acted this way do to personal beliefs or societal beliefs, or both?



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