We’ve Got a Job

The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
Essential reading on American and Black history, race, protest and youth activism  
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561456277
  • Publication date: 02/01/2012
  • Page Count: 180
  • Size: 8-7/8" x 9-3/8"
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561458448
  • Publication date: 02/01/2015
  • Page Count: 180
  • Size: 8-7/8" x 9-3/8"
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781682631188
  • Publication date: 09/15/2018
  • Page Count: N/A
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 10-14
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Essential reading on American and Black history, race, protest and youth activism

★ Four Starred Reviews ★

Editors’ Choice Book ―The New York Times
Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
Top 10 Black History Books for Youth ―Booklist
Best Books of the Year ―Booklist
Best of 2012 ―Kirkus Reviews
Best Books 2012 List ―Publishers Weekly
Best Books of the Year ―School Library Journal
Parents’ Choice Gold Award
A Junior Library Guild Selection

The inspiring story of the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, one of the greatest moments in civil rights history, as seen through the eyes of four young people at the center of the action. From award-winning author Cynthia Levinson.

The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March was a turning point in American history. African Americans had had enough of segregation and police brutality, but with their lives and jobs at stake, most adults were hesitant to protest the city’s racist culture. So the fight for civil rights lay in the hands of children like Audrey Hendricks, Wash Booker, James Stewart, and Arnetta Streeter.

We’ve Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 Black elementary, middle, and high school students who answered Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to “fill the jails.” Between May 2 and May 11, 1963, these young people voluntarily went to jail, drawing national attention to the cause, helping bring about the repeal of segregation laws, and inspiring thousands of other young people to demand their rights.

Combining extensive research and in-depth interviews with protesters, award-winning author Cynthia Levinson recreates the events of the Birmingham Children’s March from a new and very personal perspective. Archival photography and informational sidebars throughout. Backmatter includes an afterword, author’s note, timeline, map, and bibliography.



Cynthia Levinson


A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, Cynthia Levinson holds degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and also attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She has published articles in Appleseeds, Calliope, Cobblestone, Dig, Faces, and Odyssey.


“The author takes her inspiring tale of courage in the face of both irrational racial hatred and adult foot-dragging (on both sides) through the ensuing riots and the electrifying September bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church… A moving record of young people rising at a pivotal historical moment, based on original interviews and archival research as well as published sources.” ―Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Yet the most compelling component is Levinson’s dramatic recreation of the courageous children’s crusade and the change it helped bring about in the face of widespread prejudice and brutality. Powerful period photos and topical sidebars heighten the story’s impact.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“This highly readable photo-essay will hold YA readers with its focus on four young people who participated in the Birmingham Children’s March…The format will hook readers with spacious type, boxed quotes, and large black-and-white photos on almost every double-page spread, from the horrifying view of the Klan marching with children to the young protestors waiting to be arrested. A fascinating look at a rarely covered event for both curriculum and personal interest.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“This photo-essay stands out for its engrossing content, excellent composition, and riveting use of primary-source material. Covering the history of the Birmingham Children’s March from inception to full impact, Levinson traces the stories of four young people between the ages of 9 and 15 in 1963…With a helpful list of abbreviations, excellent source notes, photo credits, a fine bibliography, and a comprehensive index, this a great research source, but it’s also just plain thought-provoking reading about a time that was both sobering and stirring.” ―School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“This extensively researched account of the Birmingham Children’s March is enriched by Levinson’s in-depth interviews with dozens of its student participants and by its intimate focus on four of those children, two boys and two girls…Black and white photos and excerpts from documents of the time round out this riveting, significant work of nonfiction.” ―The New York Times

“Clear and lively writing, well-chosen photographs, and thorough documentation make this a fine chronicle of the civil rights era.” ―The Horn Book Magazine

“Levinson does a superb job demonstrating just how difficult it was for the leaders of the civil rights movement to create a movement at all…clear and lively writing, well-chosen photos, and thorough documentation make this a fine chronicle of the era.” ―The Horn Book Guide


Editors’ Choice Book ―The New York Times, 2012

Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards (Young Adult – Nonfiction) ―International Reading Association, 2013

Jane Addams Children’s Book Award (Books for Older Children) ―Jane Addams Peace Association, 2013

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction (Finalist) ―YALSA, 2013

Notable Children’s Books ―Association for Library Service to Children, 2013

Golden Kite Award (Nonfiction Honor Book) ―Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, 2013

Orbis Pictus Outstanding Nonfiction for Children Award (Honor Book) ―National Council of Teachers of English, 2013

New Voices ―American Booksellers Association, 2012

Top 10 Black History Books for Youth ―Booklist, 2013

Best Books of the Year ―Booklist, 2013

Best of 2012 List ―Kirkus Reviews, 2012

Best Books 2012 List ―Publishers Weekly, 2012

Best Books of the Year ―School Library Journal, 2012

Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education, 2013

Parents’ Choice Gold Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2012

CCBC Choices (Historical People, Places, and Events) ―Cooperative Children’s Book Center, 2013

Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens ―Capitol Choices, 2013

Notable Books for a Global Society ―International Reading Association, 2013

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Social Studies K-6) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2012

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Best Book, Social Studies 7-12) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2012

Eureka! Gold Nonfiction Children’s Book Award ―California Reading Association, 2012

Spirit of Texas Reading Program (Middle School) ―Texas Library Association, 2014-2015

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book ―Chicago Public Library, 2012

Children’s Books: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing ―New York Public Library, 2012

Julia Ward Howe Award (Young Adult Finalist) ―Boston Authors Club, 2013

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Starred, Senior High) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2013

Massachusetts Book Awards (Must-Read Children’s, Young Adult Literature) ―Massachusetts Center for the Book, 2013

Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 2013

Garden State Teen Book Awards (Nominee, Nonfiction for Grades 6-12) –New Jersey Library Association, 2015

Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee, Tween Nonfiction) ―Arizona Library Association, 2015

Volunteer State Book Awards (Nominee, Middle School; Nominee, High School) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians, 2014-2015

VOYA Nonfiction Honor List ―Voice of Youth Advocates, 2012


Resources: Poster, Teacher's Guide

Teacher’s Guide

More Details

AR Level: 7.4
F&P: GRL Y, Gr 6, Genre I
Lexile: 1020L
Themes: Civil Rights, Nonviolence, Segregation
BISAC 1: JNF025210 JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / United States / 20th Century
BISAC 2: JNF018010 JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / United States / African American
BISAC 3: JNF053140 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Social Issues / Prejudice & Racism