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Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  2,324 ratings  ·  458 reviews
A stirring collection of poems and spirituals, accompanied by stunning collage illustrations, recollects the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a champion of equal voting rights.

"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her de
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Candlewick Press
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This is a powerful account of Frannie Lou Hammer, who I had not heard of. She lived a hard life. She lived through some terrible times and she was a fighter. Her daughter died in her arms outside a hospital because it took so long to get there as hospitals close by wouldn’t take black people. In her young life she went in for a tumor and the doctor removed her reproductive organs due to a law against poor people having kids. This is some horrible abuse.

They did include a slur in this story and I
Robert Davis
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
**** Caldecott Honor (2016) ****

I suspect that, despite all the numerous awards and well deserved accolades, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer will be a regularly challenged title for exclusion in schools and libraries, not because of the message it sends, but because of the language it uses.

"...the police told me to shut up... They just kept beating me, the jailers telling me, 'You nigger bitch, we're gonna make you wish you were dead.' Through the pain, I quoted Scripture." -pp.21 The Beatin
Outstanding biography of singer and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. With bold collage illustrations, her story is told through a series of deeply moving free verse poems that chronicles her life as well as gives insight to the struggles of the civil rights movement. The poems are deeply moving, honest, and authentic, capturing the brutality of the time period. A powerful picture book about a tumultuous period in American history.
Brenda Kahn
Powerful verse biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Civil Rights activist - beautifully illustrated. Must read/ must purchase!
Edward Sullivan
I'm usually not a fan of biographies with the subject speaking in first person, but this story of the Civil Rights Movement hero from Mississippi is excellent enough to negate that complaint. Weatherford's thoroughly documented narrative is told in verse and beautifully complemented with superb collage illustrations by Ekua Holmes.
In first person poetry, Fannie Lou Hamer tells her life story. The details are vivid and haunting, and she does a nice job of incorporating historical facts alongside her personal reflections.

Collage illustrations are amaaaaaazing; this book is truly a treasure. An author's note, timeline, source notes, selected bibliography, audio recording, and online resources make up the back matter.

I learned so much from reading Fannie Lou Hamer's story. Even readers who are well read in juvenile titles on
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This biographical picture book is written in verse, singing the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a woman who was at the heart of the civil rights movement. The book begins with Hamer’s childhood in Mississippi as the youngest of twenty children in a sharecropper family. She grew up working in the cotton fields, seeing it for the slavery that it was. School was only held for four months a year, because the children needed to work in the fields in order for their family to survive. Even in the early part ...more
This inspiring and much-needed account of the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer is filled with details that will make readers' mouths drop open while also heightening their respect for those who fought so hard for civil rights decades ago. Born in 1917 to sharecroppers, Hamer was the youngest child in a family of 20 children. In a series of moving poems, the author takes readers back in time so that they can learn some of the lessons Hamer learned important life lessons from her mot ...more
Sara Ullery
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-reviews
• How would you feel if you did not have a say in your life? Personal rights were stolen from you and decisions were made for you. Fannie Lou Hamer would not allow anyone to steal her voice. This book uses poetry to capture your heart and real life situations.
• Teachers may use this for history, Reading lesson, English
• Grades 4-7
• Individual students will enjoy reading this book because it gives them poetry from real life situations
• Small groups may work together to form a poem related to a cu
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I didn’t know anything about Fannie Lou Hamer until I read this book. She played an integral role in the civil rights movement and knew many of the major activists. I like the way this story is told in free verse poems and spirituals. Weatherford includes additional information about Hamer as well as a timeline at the end of the book. Here’s another person I wish I could have met. Well deserving of the Sibert and Coretta Scott King Awards, and highly recommended.
Agata Wilusz
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a great picturebook and, since it is written in first person, reads like an autobiography. The book outlines the life of Fannie Lou Hammer, from her birth as a sharecropper all the way to her contributions to the civil rights movement. Beautiful illustrations accompany the thorough text, which appears to be written in free verse.
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This much-awarded book is told in the voice of Fannie Lou Hamer herself in a free verse format that includes many actual quotes from Hamer. Most of these quotations come from “An Oral History With Fannie Lou Hamer;” her biography; and her speeches. [The text of many of her speeches can be found here.] As the author explains in a Note at the end of the book, Fannie Lou Hamer was considered “the spirit, or the voice, of the civil rights movement.”

Fannie Lou Hamer (nee Townsend) was born in Mississ
There is a scope in this book that I hadn't imagined. From six years to death, Fannie Lou Hamer worked hard, first for the landowner where her family sharecropped, and then, defying danger, perhaps death, she worked for equal rights, for everyone's rightful place in the world. Those small things shared don't need expansion, but one could by reading more of the books given in the bibliography, or by looking through Carole Weatherford's timeline. Here are some lines that say much in only a few wo ...more
A perfectly vivid portrayal of another women who we can't hold a candle to in terms of determination and drive to see things through. Fannie Lou Hamer endured heartbreak when she was sterilized, she fought back through the injustice of the voter registration process, continued to run for office when it was denied to her, and cultivated beautiful relationships with her husband, children, lawmakers, religious change-makers among others to affect change when it was denied to her so many times.

Mississippi Library Commission
Fannie Lou Hamer is a true hero of the Civil Rights Movement and her story can't be told enough. She endured more hardship and heartache than any one person should go through, but she did it all with spirit, conviction, and hope for a better future. Carole Boston Weatherford's poetry is lovely and Ekua Holmes's artwork is divine. For older picture book readers, say 10+. ...more
A perfect read for Martin Luther King Day...the story of Fannie Lou Hammer's life and dedication to the civil rights movement. The illustrations are truly stunning and worthy of the 2016 Caldecott Honor recently bestowed upon it.
Meliny Pond
This book is about the life of Fannie Lou Hamer a civil rights activist. She lived this awful life full of trials, but she never stopped working.

This book was very good, very sad but good. She lived a truly inspiring life.

I would use this book in class when talking about tolerance and history.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow! How is it that we haven't heard of this woman before?? or maybe it is that my age group of white people hasn't heard of her.. she was such a force to be reckoned with .. listened to.. and followed that her story should be told to many - and maybe it already is... even though in a picture book format this is not a book for the very young.. graphic in description with beautiful illustrations..
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it
2016 Reading Challenge
3.25 stars

I am going to put this in my reading challenge under poetry. I could also use it as Famous Person but reading books about famous people is easy. Poetry can be tougher. This isn't a poetry book but it is written in poetry form. It doesn't rhyme but it has all the elements!

I like the information about Fannie Lou Hamer. It is important to learn about these amazing people-willing to stand up for what is right! Especially during MLK Month! Honoring our B
Paige Scott
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1) This book is filled with poems and illustrations that portray the triumphs and trials of Fannie Lou Hamer's upbringing and also a celebration for her being the champion of equal voting rights. Fannie Lou Hamer is not near as well known as Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, but she is still very important. Hamer grew up as the 20th child of Mississippi sharecroppers, and worked in the fields all day. However she wanted to find a way for black people to have something to show for how they al ...more
It was neat to read this right about the same time I read March: Book Three as Fannie Lou Hamer was part of the Civil Rights Movement and was featured in March.

This contains poetry that introduce us to Hamer's life and her fight for civil rights. She was brave and eloquent and able to overcome some heartbreaking situations! The illustrations are amazing! And I enjoyed the poetry.

I was especially touched by the poem Africa. She had never seen a black pilot before going to Africa and was saddened
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diverse-books
“(Mama) told me, ‘I want you to respect yourself as a Black child, as you get older, you respect yourself as a Black woman. If you respect yourself enough, other people will have to respect you.’” (Page 5). These words are on the one of the first few pages in the book, “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer,” and they set the tone and message for the rest of the book. This is a multiple award winning text, and was recommended through the ALCS webpage, as a 2016 Caldecott Honors winner. This picture ...more
Brooke Nelson
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572-books
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer is an informational, non fiction, and biography that follows the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist. This book is composed of free versed poems that details the hardships Fannie faced as a child until she was an adult. Voice of Freedom allows the reader to see slavery, segregation and the civil rights movement through a female perspective, as she had to fight even harder to gain the rights that black men had. Although she had to face many pitfall ...more
Elise Saenger-Heyl
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Voice of Freedom is a great upper level (grades 3-5) picture book in the informational or biographical genre. The book tells the story of Fannie Lou Hamer and her role in the civil rights movement, as the "voice of freedom." Written in the dialect she spoke from her perspective, the powerful picture book tells her story. Starting with her humble beginnings and telling the story of her life and involvement in the civil rights movement, the book gives the reader a personal perspective of an import ...more
Katherine Austin
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-4050
1) Book summary, in your own words (3 pts)
-This book is about the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil rights activist who fought for freedom, justice, and equal rights for African Americans. She also worked to improve the life of poverty students and opened a Head Start to help students get ahead by receiving an education. This book is through the eyes of Fannie, but it is not an autobiography. Through the book, students will learn about the injustices that African Americans faced and the Jim Crow
Neesa Vasquez
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott-books
Not only was this book educational friendly, but the use of artwork was so vibrant! According to Russel chapter three, "children identify with characters like themselves" (106). This book is about Fannie Lou Hammer's life and legacy. She dropped out of school to help her family support themselves, she was very knowledgable, and was apart of the civil rights movement. She worked very hard for racial equality and sometimes children might feel they can relate to Fannie or feel inspired by her coura ...more
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer is given the Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award.
Carole Boston Weatherford presents Fannie Lou Hamer's life as told by Fannie. The language used within the text as if Hamer were telling the story. The Weatherford's careful craft to give Hamer a voice, in the proper dialect, throughout the book furthers the authenticity.

Hamer tells the story of her life in chronological order. She shares what her life was like growing up and how the
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The illustrations are beautiful. The only complaint I have is that I would have liked to see more about the Freedom Farm Cooperative that she founded because that is just as important to the Civil Rights movements as the other contributions she made. Other than that this is a great book to introduce your children to Fannie Lou Hamer and all the sacrifices she made so that she could secure a better future for Black people in America.
Nicole Misra
It's hard for me to say I loved this book when there's so much injustice. I did not LOVE the oppression. I was inspired by how men and women despite oppression and inequality do NOT give up on fighting for freedom. They did not the oppressors tell them this was all there was. They knew there was something more.

Educators: Be aware of racial slurs and derogatory language towards women.
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Carole Boston Weatherford is a children's book author and poet who "mines the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles." A number of Weatherford's books tell the stories of African-American historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Jesse Owens, and Billie Holiday. Other books recount historical events such as the Greensboro Sit-ins and the bombing of the Sixteenth Stree ...more

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