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We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
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We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  566 ratings  ·  183 reviews
We ve Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alalama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent c ...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Peachtree Publishers
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Newbery 2013
38th out of 116 books — 1,121 voters
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Mock Printz 2013
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Community Reviews

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Barb Middleton
When the Red River crested in 1997 the water was filling up the streets like a bathtub and moving so fast I couldn't get sandbags piled around our house quick enough. My husband was working and I was chiseling ice off the grass so the water wouldn't seep under the sandbags. I knew it was a losing battle and plugged desperately away lugging 40 pound bags in a semicircle as the water inched closer. When a college student popped around the house saying loudly, "Hey, you need some help?" I thought a ...more
In the early 1960s, a group of black protestors made their way through Birmingham marching for Civil Rights. They were sprayed with fire hoses by local authorities, the impact of the water so forceful that it sheared the hair off the side of Carolyn Maull’s head. Others were hurled against brick buildings. One boy was lifted into the air. They were assaulted with glass bottles and bricks thrown by onlookers from neighboring buildings. They were attacked by German shepherds set loose by police of ...more
Thanks to Mighty Times: The Children's March, a film distributed by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance, Larry Dane Brimner's Black & White (2011) and Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (2009), I knew something about the role of children and teens in the Civil Rights Movement, but this new title covers the territory even more thoroughly by focusing on the role of four youngsters who played parts in keeping the campaign for fair treatment alive. Through th ...more
I got a free copy of this book from Netgalley. I selected it because it deals with an event in history that I knew very little about -- the protests and jailing of children and teenagers in Birmingham during the civil rights movement. It is aimed at young readers and focuses on the involvement of 4 kids. I gave "We've got a job" 4 stars for its content. The history is fascinating and disturbing. The narrative of how those few days unfolded conveys the complexity of the tension between and within ...more
An engaging, informative narrative in the history of Civil Rights from the perspective of several African-American youths standing up in the face of oppression in 1963. "We've Got A Job" toggles between personal accounts of children who marched in protest of discrimination and informative passages that illustrate examples of the laws that were enacted during that time, derogatory social attitudes, and harsh realities that African-American men, women, and children endured. The work also contains ...more
Monica Edinger
For years, one of my favorite teaching materials for the Movement has been the documentary Eyes on the Prize,in particular the section focusing on the 1963 Birmingham Children's Campaign. And so I was delighted to enter Levinson's focused examination of this particular historical episode. She begins witha prologue:
On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, she knew she had to go to jail.

“I want to go to j
While I thought this was a bit long, and I sometimes had trouble keeping the timeline straight, this is an impressive achievement. Every time I think "okay, I've got it" about children's involvement in the civil rights movement--I've read quite a few books on the subject over the last three years or so--I learn something new or discover a new way of looking at the situation, and that was true here several times over. I think this meets every Newbery criterion, especially excelling in style and s ...more
Jul 20, 2014 Irma rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle-aged children, high schoold students, teachers
We’ve Got a Job authored by Cynthia Levinson tells a story of approximately 4000 children who fought for their civil rights during the 1960s. Levinson, a former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, aims to provide her readers with as much information as possible about the experiences, prejudices and hardships African Americans encountered during this era. She does so by focusing on the events and experiences of children during the Civil Rights Movement.
Like many Americans,
What would one sacrifice for equality and justice? We’ve Got a Job tells the story of the struggle the African Americans in Birmingham, Alabama had to endure against the city’s racist culture. This story is told through the eyes of four heroic children: Wash, Audrey, James, and Arnetta. It tells of their experiences against segregation and police brutality and their fight for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. Who knew that children would be the key turning point in changing history…

Gianna Garces
Cynthia Levinson wrote this fascinating book telling the story of 4,000 children who came together to stand up for their rights and beliefs in 1964. This side of the story is seldom told, we mostly hear about prominent leaders in the Civil Rights movement such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, etc. Before this book I wasn’t aware that such a large number of children held a march in Birmingham, as young as nine years old. I was saddened to know I wasn’t taught this when I was in grade school ...more
Val Sanford
Fabulous and humbling, this narrative tells the story of the Children's March in Birmingham in May, 1963. Mike and I listened as we drove from Knoxville, Tenn. to Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala. This is the story of the shocking treatment of thousands of children as they marched to the Birmingham Jail in the beginning of the Civil Right's movement that year. Water hoses, guns, tear gas, bombings and broken promises, this is the story of how children captured the minds of America and forced the r ...more
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: WE’VE GOT A JOB: THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S MARCH by Cynthia Levinson, Peachtree, February 2012, 176p., ISBN: 978-1-56145-627-7

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise”
-- Paul McCartney

“These are our heroes, and they still walk among us today. One of them may be sitting next to you as you read this, or standing in the next room making your dinner, or waiting for you to come outsi
Jim Erekson
This was riveting. I couldn't put it down, told with so many primary sources in such a way as to evoke the humanity of each of the key moments. Full of basic outline information I had heard many times before, but with all the empty space in between filled in.

The book is very spare on visuals, which is interesting. There must be mountains of visuals, but maybe still under copyright and difficult to get permissions without great expense. Still, those chosen are powerful and well-suited to the mom
Maureen E
I just finished We’ve Got a Job this morning and, wow. I thought it was fantastic on a number of different levels. First, it’s focused, staying tightly on four main characters, James, Arnetta, Audrey, and Wash. Each of them help to pull out different threads of the struggle the black community in Birmingham faced, because of their different backgrounds and attitudes (Wash, for instance, had a real problem with nonviolence, while the other three were extremely committed to that ideal). Levinson d ...more
Erica - Bonner Springs Library
reviewed for

A fascinating middle school & high school nonfiction book about the teens who were instrumental in the Birmingham marches in the 1960s. In the spring of 1963, adults were worried about their families, safety and their livelihood and were afraid to march for civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama. Who could blame them after the way several of the leaders of the movement were treated in jail.

At nightly meetings, Birmingham teenagers were motivated and mobilized to march
We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March/ Cynthia Levinson/ 2012

Genre: Non-fiction

Format: Book
Summary: We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alalama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in
Rebecca Graf
History is full of untold stories or stories that you hear about and quickly dismiss because they are not 'big' enough to dwell on. Cynthia Levinson takes you to one segment of American history in We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March where she reveals the battle of desegregation, racism, and prejudice not only with the big leaders like King but also with the young children of Birmingham, Alabama.

The tension between groups in the 1960s over where the blacks should and should not
This book was provided by in exchange for a review. The kindle copy I received was an uncorrected proof, which affected the flow of the story. The author used years of research and interviews with individuals who marched, and weaves their stories together. At the beginning it does effect the cohesiveness to be jumping around so much, but I'm hoping it improved with editing for final copy.

I consider myself pretty well educated about the civil rights movement. The marches, the l
"I want to go to jail," Audrey had told her mother.

Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready. Her father had even bought her a new game she'd been eyeing. Audrey imagined that it would entertain her if she got bored during her week on a cell block.

That morning, her mother took her to Center Street Elementary so she could tell her third-grade teacher why she'd be absent. Mrs. Wills cried. Audrey knew she was proud of her.

She also hugged all four grandpar
Audience: Intermediate
Genre: Non-Fiction
Discussion Questions...
Remembering - What church was the Movement 's unofficial headquarters?
Understanding - Wash described a "cotton curtain" when it came to news streaming in or out of Alabama. Explain what Wash means by "cotton curtain".
Applying - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has asked you to give a short speech to the students before the first student march. What would your speech look like?
Analyzing - How would your compare Wash's involvement and commi
Lori Gedwillo
Can children really make a difference in the world. Author Cynthia Levinson, learns that a story she remembers studying in grade school,the 1963 Birmingham March, was mainly made up of children who decided that it was time to do something. The author retells the story from the viewpoint of 4 children who actually marched. Great photos support this unique point of view.
This was a great book. It's appropriate for 4th and up. It is pretty explicit on what was going on during the civil rights movement and I think shows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a very different light. He wasn't as perfect as, at least I thought he was. It does show how powerful children can be in making changes to their world.
Excellent read which was written at an appropriate level for a middle school reader. Couple of things I want to point out. If you are going to allow your middle schooler to read it, read it with them because the topic is a very difficult topic, but not one that should not be discussed. Secondly, the "N" word is used frequently (apprapro to the time) in the book. I must admit, I did have a hard time with that in a book targeted towards middle schoolers, but again, something that I feel would be s ...more
This put many things about Birmingham during the Civil Rights Era into perspective for me. I think it would be a good tool or supplement to assist teachers who are talking about the civil rights movement, or who wish to provide an inspiration for their students about their ability to make change.
L.B. Schulman
I know the author, and I pre-ordered her book. When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It was a fascinating glimpse into the civil rights marches, including several led by children who were sent to jail, expelled from schools, and suffered greatly for their sacrifice. In the end, they triumphed, changing several laws and making the world a more equal place. Cynthia did an amazing job with this book, and the photos are compelling, telling the story from all sides. I have a newfound res ...more
Fascinating story. I knew little of this event, since we "put our roller skates on" in American history by the time we got to the 50s and 60s.

I like the fact that Levinson included a chapter on why whites felt as they did. I think it helps emphasize how family culture and media cann ingrain ideas.

This would be a fabulous read along with The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

Why I picked it up: Another early Best of the Best read

Why I kept reading: Because it was a story I knew about, but didn't know.

I wo
Marybeth Batie
Much history can be learned through the stories of trials and triumphs of African Americans during the Civil Rights movement from this book. Completed with stories of different important leaders and events, such as the Birmingham Children’s March, this book covers themes of Civil Rights, activism, and community. Since the book was a compilation of non-fiction stories, the relationships existed in all types of ways: families, police to citizens, leaders to followers, young children coming togethe ...more
Bethany Mcguirk
Levinson, C. (2012). We’ve got a job: The 1963 Birmingham children’s march. Atlanta, Georgia: Peachtree Publishers.

2013 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist

Wow! That’s I all can say because I learned so much from reading this text. I had no idea that the civil rights March on Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 included children as young as 9 who were jailed by the thousands, sprayed with fire hoses, and beat by police. Levinson’s book presents numerous details about the even
We’ve Got a Job by Cynthia Levinson is the story of the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March. It tells the story of the thousands of school children in Birmingham who willingly went to jail to fight for Civil Rights in their city, all while keeping a peaceful demeanor and not fighting back. The book opens with a single chapter on each of the four young main children we follow through the story and get background information on who they were and why they were involved. Their backgrounds range from be ...more
We've Got a Job, by Cynthia Levinson, shares the story of young African American students who were voluntarily jailed in efforts to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama. We've Got a Job shares the stories of several students including Washington Booker III and Audrey Faye Hendricks. The book does an incredible job of recounting what happened before, during, and after the Children's March. It includes very helpful resources, like a Timeline, to help capture the order of events. I thought that the text ...more
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“On Thursday morning, May 2, 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks woke up with freedom on her mind. But, before she could be free, there was something important she had to do. "I want to go to jail," Audrey had told her mother. Since Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks thought that was a good idea, they helped her get ready.” 2 likes
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