Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965” as Want to Read:
Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  966 ratings  ·  229 reviews
An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky — she sees her family
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Schwartz & Wade
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  966 ratings  ·  229 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mariah Roze
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a great story about a black women's experience trying to vote. It went back through all the generations before her and the struggles and experiences they had trying to vote. It talked about white men first being the only ones allowed to vote. Then they allowed all men, but nonwhite men had to pay a tax and pass an extremely hard test to vote. Then women were allowed.

This book talked about the progress the US made and the regress we would make right after it.

This book lead to a lot of d
Henry Martin
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
An interesting book for young readers about the dark and recent period (and some might say ongoing) in American history and the controversial American policies pertaining to equal voting rights.

Through the metaphor of an old woman climbing up a hill to vote, pausing now and then to reflect upon a memory of her enslaved great-great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents, and parents, and eventually her own, the writer emphasizes important (and failed) milestones in the equal rights movem
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Follow the long, uphill journey of 100 year-old African American Lillian as she goes to an Alabama courthouse to cast her vote In this picture book for older readers. As she climbs upward, Lillian recalls her family's history - from her enslaved great-great-grandparents and their baby Edmund being sold on the courthouse steps, to her enslaved great grandfather Edmund picking cotton from early morning to night and his later attempt to vote after the Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed him that right, ...more
Inspired by the true story of Lillian Allen, who at 100 years old voted and campaigned for President Obama, this overview of the history of Civil Rights uses Lillian's story as a metaphor to revisit key points in the history of African Americans getting the vote.

An author's note comments on the inspiration for this story as well as provisions to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which serves to make voting more difficult for the poor and elderly in states with "voter ID laws."

Mixed media illustrati
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The combination of Lilian's story and the stunning illustrations make this a worthwhile purchase.

However, the fact that I was among 300 lucky souls chosen to recreate the march from Selma to Montgomery, made this very special book hit close to my heart.
Rachel Freeman
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 572-book-reviews
“Lillian’s Right to Vote” is told from the point-of-view of Lillian, an elderly African American woman who is going to vote on voting day. Jonah Winter provides a sad but beautiful retelling of this strong woman’s history and the struggles that African Americans have gone through over the years from slavery till today’s modern struggles. As Lillian walks up the hill to the voting house, she is reminded of all these struggles and she goes through flashbacks where she explains both the triumphs an ...more
Rachel Giddings
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm335
Historical Fiction:

This book is amazing. While the book follows the life of a women named Lillian it also goes back in time demonstrating the struggles African Americans faced regarding their right to vote. This children’s book has beautiful illustrations that bring the story to life. I believe this book could be used instructionally for grades 3-5 but also could be read aloud to younger grade levels.

I think this book is the perfect opportunity to integrate Language Arts and Social Studies les
Sara Grochowski
I just want to give this book a big hug. Warning: There's good chance that you'll be crying by the end of this one. This is a must for every collection.
Sam Grace
Read this to my 2 year old and I am convinced that the reason he was rapt, despite it being much longer than his average book, is that I was so totally into it. I cannot imagine NOT being filled with gratitude and strength and solidarity and pride and the anger of righteousness while reading this aloud. And the illustrations are great. This is a new favorite.
Becka Lopez
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book filled with history and the story of Lillian and her uphill fight for her rights. I definitely want to add this book to my collection, as well as look more into works done by Jonah Winter.
Laura La Rosa
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recipient of 2016 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Honor Younger Children and listed on the National Council of Social Studies Notable Trade Books for Young People, this historical fiction picture book is based on the life Lillian Allen. Lillian's climb to vote helps her remember the struggle of various members of her family as they struggled for freedom from slavery and eventually the right to vote.

Though the book details over a hundred years of African American history, it provides an approac
Camille De Zeeuw
This book is part of my diverse girls literature set.
1. Rationale: This book walks children through a timeline of United States history with the main character, Lillian. She talks about the struggle her family as well as other African Americans encountered as they tried to obtain the right to vote. It tells a wonderful story with fabulous illustrations. The book also serves as a nice introduction to historical fiction for young readers.
2. Text-to-text: This book made me think about the social st
Stephanie Sutter
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Narrative Introduction
“How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?” (quote from pg.10) [Wait for students’ guesses] What if that was a question you had to get right before you could vote? Would this be fair? [Students Response] This is just one of the unfair ways African-Americans were kept from voting. Today, we will read Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans as another way to celebrate all of the people who have fought to help African-Americans gain the right to vote. This goes
Amanda Vaughan
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wow-books
A woman who has walked hundreds of miles over the course of a hundred years, is now about to take one of the most important steps in her life. Lillian has seen things that would break most, she has experienced pains that would wreck the strongest, and she has struggled and endured losses that would cause a normal women to have laid down to die. But, not Lillian, not this woman.

This is an amazing story of an African American women who shares with the reader her experiences, trials, and tribulati
Ms. Yingling
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Copy provided by the publisher

Told from the point of view of an elderly woman making her weary way to the polls, this picture book shows and discusses key events on the road to voting rights told through the memories of the woman. Her picture, and present day backgrounds are drawn in full color, while the events and people she is remembering are in faded monochrome, which is a nice touch. Covering events from the time of the Civil War to the present day, this book also includes notes with furthe
This is a compelling story that documents the uphill journey of Lillian Allen's right to vote. At the age of 100' the real Lillian cast her vote for the first time in 2008. This picture books documents each step Lillian takes towards the courthouse with a bit of history. From her great great grandparents, Elijah and Sara being sold on the auction block. To her being denied the right to vote because of the unfair testing given to Blacks.

This story is meant to inspire people to NOT take advantage
Ariel Cummins
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This gorgeous picture book tells the story of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through the lens of Ms. Lillian - who has lived a hundred years and see how far we have come (and how far we still have to go). I feel like this is a look at voting history that doesn't flinch away from the really terrible things that were done to prevent people from voting, but does it in a way that is approachable and appropriate for kids.

The mixed-media illustrations are great - I loved the texture of the canvas peeki
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile-nf
I think this has huge potential and should be used with mature students who already have some U.S. history knowledge and can understand an overview presentation. I would be hesitant to use it at this time simply due to the negative image of police officers in our current events.
This needs a balance of historical understanding as to why people were killed or hurt in their efforts to vote.
It might be a good starting point for students to delve deeper into some of these events.
Use of color and shad
Jonah Winter has written a thought-provoking look back at the changes that have had to happen over the years in order for African-Americans to actually be able to vote. The symbolism in the journey that Lillian takes up the steep hill shines through in both the text and the illustrations. However, children may need a bit of help to fully appreciate what the author and illustrator are trying to say here by looking back and Lillian's family and the brief history of the civil rights era.
Carrie Charley Brown
A wonderful, well-written book for the older picture book audience, 7-10 and beyond, really. Marking history highlights of slavery and the right to vote, this story will be a handy curricular tool on up through high school.
Kelly Carey
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Chronicle the difficult uphill battle of ensuring that everyone, including African Americans and women, has the right to vote in the United States. Includes examples of prejudice and unfairness, such as voting taxes and tests. Also, the author's note connects the story to current events today.
Aliza Werner
At 100 years old Lillian voted for Barack Obama. This book revisits the "hill" she climbed to be able to do that.
Taylor Kundel-Gower
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book have me goosebumps.
Alex Kartak
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-lit
Lillian's Right to Vote is based on the history of America and the conflict of blacks first starting to be able to vote. I'm not sure if this is exactly a true story, but it presents facts that actually happened and the time period it happened in. Lillian is on her way to vote for the first time. On her way, she envisions many of her relatives being scorned by neighbors, being chased by angry mobs, or even having to name all 67 judges in the state of Alabama. On her walk to the voting station, e ...more

Lillian, an elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She
Thumbnail That
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was taken aback (in a good way) and moved to tears with this narrative. Lillian’s resilience, conviction, and perseverance reminded me of my ancestors and why my parents instilled the importance of voting to me and my siblings. Winter’s writing style of aligning Lillian’s determination to vote with a memorable voter’s right event (sort of a cause and effect writing style)–was simply BRILLIANT. I love how every page connects with Lillian’s “Why.” Winter makes it easy for a young reader to conne ...more
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This story follows an elderly woman as she climbs the steps towards the place where elections are held. It is hard for her, it is far and she is tired… tired because of her age, of her frail body. Tired because of the life that passes though her eyes each step. As the book progresses, it accompanies the story of her family, from slavery to freedom, from humiliation and fear, to freedom. Despite her years, it is a matter of honor, to herself, her parents, her antecedents, to the country and all o ...more
Wendy McGaha
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exam-2
This book was a phenomenal way to teach about the right to vote, while including different pieces of history along the way. This book is a Caldecott Medal Winner, and is intended for children in second to fourth grade, which is around the time they begin to learn about social studies and rights and privileges. The pictures were created using mixed media according to the information page. The pictures are drawn surrealistically with lots of bright, vibrant colors in them. The end papers in the fr ...more
Michael Huscusson
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Summary: Lillian is a 100-year-old woman who knows a lot about her history. She is walking up a steep hill, looking at all the scenery, on her way up to the polling place to vote. She looks back on the first time her great grandfather was able to vote. She sees her parents, trying to vote for who they want and most of all, she sees the fifteenth amendment, which gave them the right to vote.

Classroom Use: This book would fit perfectly in a lesson about the history of African Americans and the cr
Calla Welter
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdng-350
This book is about voting rights for African Americans. The main character, Lillian, starts out at the bottom of a valley. Throughout the whole book it is her personal journey up the valley, as well as the people before her.

This book is so cool! It has all of the past of voting rights within the book. Lillian and all of the other present day characters are depicted differently than the past ones..

In the classroom, I would use this book to introduce the Civil Rights Movement. This would have to
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
  • The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial
  • Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass (A Big Words Book)
  • All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
  • 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World
  • Granddaddy's Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box
  • New Shoes
  • Freedom in Congo Square
  • Steamboat School
  • The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage
  • Let the Children March
  • Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song
  • The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
  • The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore
  • Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
  • A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream
  • We March
  • The House That Jane Built: A Story about Jane Addams
See similar books…
Jonah Winter is the celebrated author of many picture book biographies, including Barack, which was a New York Times bestseller. His books include Here Comes the Garbage Barge, Sonia Sotomayor, Roberto Clemente, and more. A poet and a painter, Mr. Winter divides his time between Santa Fe and a small town in Pennsylvania.