Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Right Movement could actually be argued as just how Mamie Till-Mobley started the movement. I say that knowing what happened to Emmett Till, but I say that also because one mother stood up and said, “No. The land that killed my son does not get to keep him. No. They cannot tell me I cannot open this casket. No. They will not silence me.” And she did this at great risk to herself.
But Till-Mobely was not new to making the hard choice. She would do it for going against the odds of what she “should” do as a “good girl.” When her husband beat her, she said, no way buddy and changed the locks and called the police. When she became a widow, she picked herself up and went forward. When doctors told her to put Emmet in an institution as a baby, she said no I am taking him home. And finally, she said No to the South. She said No to injustices of racism. She said No Emmet Till will not be forgotten.
Angela Joy has a gut punching book. The other side of the story, the story of a mother who not only lost a son, but who was badass afterwards, is told with strength and caring. Janelle Washington’s illustrations are not your traditional realistic imagery but carry an almost surreal folktale or folklore atmosphere to them. Interesting color patterns, details and the use of light and shadows unfold on each page. They remind me of what little I know of the Harlem Renaissance art movement.
While this is a picture book, the younger traditional reader/listener might not be the best audience, and the older student might be put off by the picture book format. Therefore, know your reader.