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How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement


Author: Angela Joy

Illustrator: Janelle Washington

Roaring Brook Press
Age Range 8-12
ISBN: 9781250220950 

A picture book biography of the mother of Emmett Till and how she channeled grief over her son's death into a call to action for the civil rights movement.

Mamie Till-Mobley is the mother of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old boy who was brutally murdered while visiting the South in 1955. His death became a rallying point for the civil rights movement, but few know that it was his mother who was the catalyst for bringing his name to the forefront of history.

In Choosing Brave, Angela Joy and Janelle Washington offer a testament to the power of love, the bond of motherhood, and one woman's unwavering advocacy for justice. It is a poised, moving work about a woman who refocused her unimaginable grief into action for the greater good. Mamie fearlessly refused to allow America to turn away from what happened to her only child. She turned pain into change that ensured her son's life mattered.

Timely, powerful, and beautifully told, this thorough and moving story has been masterfully crafted to be both comprehensive and suitable for younger readers.

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Award News

*Randolph Caldecott Honor Award

*Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent       Illustrator

*Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor

*The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding     Children’s Literature, Younger Readers Category

*Jane Addams Peace Award, Books for Younger     Children

*Tomie dePaula Professional Development Award

*Orbis Pictus Honor Award 

* Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for nonfiction

*2022-23 Manhattan Country School Martin Luther King "Living the Dream" Book Award

*The Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Winner


Best of the Year Lists 

Kirkus Reviews Best of the Year List
Horn Book Fanfare Best of 2022 List

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2022

Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year

New York Public Library Best Books of 2023

Chicago Public Library Best Books of the Year 

Evanston Public Library 101 Great Books for Kids

2022 Blue Ribbons for Nonfiction

NYPL Vibrant Voices List

Janelle Washington is Represented by:

Adriana Dominguez

ACM Kids and Illustration

ACM Kids & Illustration
The Original Art 2022 Children's Book Illustration Award
Mamie Till Mobley
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About the Author

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Angela Joy

Angela Joy is an author, substitute teacher, Girl Scout Cookie Manager, Japanese gardener, 5th grade book club moderator, and music lover. She is the co-founder of the McGaugh International Culture Club. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two children, but will always call Minneapolis home.


Starred Reviews


JLG Gold Standard Selection

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