24 Jul / Mighty Justice (Young Readers’ Edition): The Untold Story of Civil Rights Trailblazer Dovey Johnson Roundtree by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe, adapted by Jabari Asim [in School Library Journal]
Until her death at 104 in 2018, Dovey Johnson Roundtree—“a Black woman born in the early twentieth century in the Jim Crow South” – shared a remarkable 24-year friendship with Katie McCabe, a self-described “white woman who came of age in 1950s Washington, DC.” Theirs was a “critical partnership” that produced Roundtree’s 2009 memoir, Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights.
Bahni Turpin, who voiced that original audiobook, returns, her dexterous register perfectly adjusted for younger ears. Turpin especially excels in embodying the women crucial to enabling Roundtree’s heroism, including her beloved grandmother, her Spelman College mentors, and Mary McLeod Bethune.
McCabe notes, “I am sorry that Dovey did not live to see this [middle-grade] book, because she believed so deeply in our obligation to young people.” Multifaceted, multi-genre awarded Jabari Asim’s worthy adaptation is an encouraging gift to youth.
Verdict: Once more, Turpin does mighty justice to presenting Roundtree’s inspiring life.
From the introduction: All the titles here are nonfiction; most feature difficult subjects including history, climate change, systemic racism. Some might ask, why expose younger readers to challenging, unpleasant, haunting truths? One of the featured writers, Hilary Beard, provides the consummate answer back in her introduction to The Burning:
“…the fact that something is upsetting to us doesn’t mean that we should not engage it. Facing the truth empowers us to understand our self, our neighbors, and our world more accurately; to make appropriate choices and decisions; to heal the past and present and build a more promising future. Together.”
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult