The Story of John Lewis by Tonya Leslie, PhD is part of the A Biography Book for Young Readers series. (I’ve also seen it stylized as New Readers). I was very excited to read a children’s biography about this amazing man and Leslie’s work really lived up to my expectations.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Discover the life of John Lewis―a story for kids ages 6 to 9 about fighting for a better world

John Lewis was a civil rights leader and United States congressman who never stopped speaking up for justice, equality, and peace. Before he marched with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, John was a thoughtful kid who loved learning but wasn’t able to go to a good school because of segregation.

He wanted to make a difference in his community, so he organized peaceful protests to end segregation and fight for equal rights for Black Americans. Explore how John went from being a young farm boy to a famous activist, politician, and leader.

The Story of John Lewis includes:

  • Core curriculum standards―Explore the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of John’s life, and take a fun quiz to test your knowledge.
  • His lasting legacy―Learn more about how John Lewis made the world a better place for future generations, including you!
  • A visual timeline―Watch John progress from a little kid to an important leader with a visual timeline marking the major milestones of his life.


How will John’s hard work, bravery, and kindness inspire you?

Buy The Story of John Lewis here.

The Story of John Lewis shows us John Lewis’s life from childhood to his passing in 2020, from his desire as a child to become a preacher to his lifelong activism to his political career. I love that this series includes points throughout to make the reader think. I also enjoyed the timelines, maps, and quotes sprinkled throughout the book rather than slammed together in the backmatter.
My only qualms with this one were the statement that “It took many years and a lot of hard work to desegregate schools.” Unfortunately, many schools are segregated today, especially here in NYC. I’m also not a fan of the quizzes at the end of this series, but that’s a personal gripe. Others might enjoy it.
The Story of John Lewis was a 4 star read for me. What I knew about John Lewis was refreshed and someone unfamiliar with him will learn a lot from this book.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

The Story of John Lewis: A Biography Book for Young ReadersThe Story of John Lewis: A Biography Book for Young Readers by Tonya Leslie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one, though I do want to note that it’s untrue that desegregating schools took “many years” – some are still segregated today. I enjoyed the sidebars giving the reader points to think about and that the book had timelines, quotes, and maps throughout rather than in the backmatter.

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Book Club Questions

  1. What was your favorite quote by John Lewis from this book?
  2. What is good trouble?
  3. How can we make good trouble?
  4. What can you do to honor John Lewis’s legacy?

Interested? Buy The Story of John Lewis.
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