Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell


Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Shadra Strickland (InfoSoup)

Released on January 31, 2017.

In 1955, Richard and Mildred fell in love in the countryside of Virginia, in Caroline County. Their neighborhood was special and people of all races congregated together. As they went to drive-in movies together and started spending time together, the larger community showed its prejudice since Richard was white and Mildred was African-American. The two of them could not attend dances together, even though Mildred’s family was playing the music at the dance. The two of them get married in 1958 in DC, but their marriage isn’t legal in Virginia. Eventually, they are thrown in jail even though Mildred is pregnant with their second child. The two of them are forced to move to DC and never return to see their families together for decades. As Mildred begins to reach out to lawyers to help, she writes to the ACLU who take up their case which becomes a landmark case for interracial marriage in front of the US Supreme Court.

Written in verse, this novel shows the courtship of Richard and Mildred, their lives together and the damage done by the initial judgement against them that forbade them to cross the border into Virginia together. The use of poetry as a format allows readers to see both Mildred and Richard’s points of view as their relationship grows, flourishes and then is challenged. The book inserts other important Civil Rights events in between the poetry, so that readers can keep an eye on the other changes happening in the United States. It’s an important piece of their story, showing that other changes came much faster than theirs.

The illustrations by Strickland are done in limited colors of oranges and blues. There are beautiful moments captured such as the two teens running through the woods together at night, silent and free. There are also bleak moments like being pulled over by the sheriff with a flashlight shining in their eyes. The illustrations move from freedom to constraint much in the way the story develops and are important in revealing emotional elements to the tale.

This verse novel tells the true story of Loving vs. Virginia and speaks to the importance of regular people standing up to unjust laws. Appropriate for ages 13-15.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.



25 Best Teen Novels of 2016

It was a great year for teen novels with lots of wonderful fantasy and realistic fiction. Here are my 25 top picks for the year:

After the Woods The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen, #1)

After the Woods by Kim Savage

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Draw the Line Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Draw the Line by Laurent Linn

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Falling Over Sideways The Female of the Species

Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Great American Whatever Highly Illogical Behavior

The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Julia Vanishes Learning to Swear in America

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Eagan

Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

The Memory of Light On the Edge of Gone

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

The Passion of Dolssa The Radiant Road

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull

Saving Montgomery Sole Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1) The Steep & Thorny Way

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters

Still Life with Tornado The Sun Is Also a Star

Still Life with Tornado by AS King

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Symptoms of Being Human Thanks for the Trouble

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Three Dark Crowns When the Moon Was Ours

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Vassa in the Night

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter