Friday, September 2, 2016

Book Review: She Stood for Freedom by Loki Mulholland

She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, by Loki Mulholland; Artwork by Charlotta Janssen
2016, 64p, Non-Fiction
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received an Advanced Reader's Edition from the publisher for an honest review

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland grew up in Virginia in the 1950s and witnessed the injustice of segregation firsthand. As a teenager, she joined the Civil Rights Movement, attending demonstrations and sit-ins. Because of her passionate belief in the cause, she was involved in several important and historically significant events, including

• The Freedom Rides of 1961
• The Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963
• The March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963
• The Selma to Montgomery March in 1965

Joan says, “Anyone can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Find a problem, get some friends together, and go fix it. Remember, you don’t have to change the world . . . just change your world.”

Filled with original photography, images of historical documents, and breathtaking original artwork, She Stood for Freedom is a celebration of the effect a single life can have on the world.

This story centers around Joan Mulholland, a white woman who grew up in Virginia in the 1950's who was passionate about the Civil Rights Movement. She was committed to do what she could and never backed down, whether her life was in danger or she wound up in jail.

I read this book with my children and, even though it's not very long, it took us a while to read because we had some great discussions along the way. It's filled with short stories about some of Joan's experiences, with photos and typed or handwritten documents and letters to give a better feel for that time period. It was interesting to read about some of the historical events from her perspective. There were some stories that I wish had been a little longer.

It's an inspiring read with a great message! Joan felt like an ordinary woman that saw a problem and decided to make a difference. I love her final line: "Remember, you don't have to change the world...just change your world."


“Evocative mixed-media collages tap into the turbulence of the events discussed; aqua, rust, and drab greens provide the only color, melding with photographs, drawings, maps, newspaper headlines, diary entries, and official documents. The clear, direct narrative contextualizes Joan’s actions within the larger movement while explaining words like segregation for young audiences." – Publishers Weekly

“Mulholland’s courage and determination are stressed and explained in terms that young readers can understand. The colorful cut-paper-collage illustrations by Charlotta Janssen feature photographs and scenes that should be familiar to those studying the time period. Joan Trumpauer Mulholland is not a name that is familiar in children's books; this is an excellent opportunity to correct an oversight." – Kirkus

"Unheralded heroes walk among us-and in Loki Mulholland's case, in his own family. His mother, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, was an early civil rights activist who took Christian tenets to heart as a child. Evocative illustrations alongside shocking historic documents… Euduring message.” – Booklist

About the Author:

Loki Mulholland is an award-winning filmmaker. His film, An Ordinary Hero, tells his mother's story and is featured at the National Civil Rights Museum and at He is the Executive Director of the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation.


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