Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement, written by Angela Joy, illustrated by Janelle Washington, and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing, is the winner in the Books for Younger Children category.
Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement, written by Angela Joy, illustrated by Janelle Washington, is a powerful and necessary story, in Joy’s words, “It was the braver thing that changed everything.” Her storytelling commences with the horrific discovery on August 31, 1955, of “the boy they found far from home.” Joy then takes us all the way back and tells us about the young Mamie Elizabeth Carthan before the nightmare. We learn her story, her roots, her move during the Great Migration, her hard life in the North, her marriage to a boxer and how she stood up to him as an abuser. Joy recounts the love and dedication Mamie had for Emmett, raising him without a father. The story leads us into when Emmett travels South to visit family despite an “ache deep down in her soul.” Mamie’s story is not buried with Emmett; she uses the pain to fuel her life, a life of achievement and heroism. Washington’s beautiful and careful illustrations show pain and also power. Her technique of paper-cuts gives the story a unique feel by incorporating both black and white silhouettes and full-color figures.
Author: Angela Joy
Illustrator: Janelle Washington
Award: 2023 Winner Book for Younger Children