The inspiring story of one of the greatest moments in civil rights history as seen through the eyes of four young people who were at the center of the action.

The 1963 Birmingham Children's March was a turning point in American history. In the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, the fight for civil rights lay in the hands of children like Audrey Hendricks, Wash Booker, James Stewart, and Arnetta Streeter.

Through the eyes of these four protesters and others who participated, We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary, middle, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail between May 2 and May 11, 1963. The children succeeded - where adults had failed - in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America.

By combining in-depth, one-on-one interviews and extensive research, author Cynthia Levinson recreates the events of the Birmingham Children's March from a new and very personal perspective.


Author Photo

Cynthia Levinson interviewed dozens of participants in the Birmingham Children's March and spent four years researching and writing We've Got a Job to share their stories. A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, she has also published articles in Appleseeds, Calliope, Dig, Faces, and Odyssey. She divides her time between Texas and Massachusetts.

You can visit Cynthia Levinson’s website here.



“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

“...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 is the story I have been missing all my life as it takes an importance series of children's protests to explain the events of the Civil Rights movement and how individuals affected the greater movement. Here is the story that shows the confusion, the determination, and the ups and downs of civil protests. It is amazing and I urge you to rush to purchase this from Peachtree Publishers...” ―SchoolLibraryJournal.com, Practically Paradise blog

“...a strongly recommended retrospective on the civil rights movement and one event that gained much ground in making it all matter.” ―Midwest Book 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 *

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

“Much has been written for children about the civil rights movement, but portraits of the active roles played by youth are comparatively rare. Levinson helps correct that by profiling four children who joined thousands to protest school segregation in 1963. It's a valuable reminder of how small actions can have significant effects, and also of the racism and corruption that made such actions necessary.” ―Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2012 list

“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.” ―Horn Book

“I'm impressed by the detailed account of this event, and the way that each viewpoint informs the development of the plot. Because each character is drawn so vividly and because the setting becomes so real, the drama in this story builds wonderfully.” ―School Library Journal online, Heavy Medal blog


Editors' Choice Book ―The New York Times 2012

Parents' Choice Gold Award ―Parents' Choice Foundation 2012

New Voices ―American Booksellers Association 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notable Children's Books ―ALSC 2013

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

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

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

Top 10 Black History Books for Youth ―Booklist 2013

Best Books of the Year ―School Library Journal 2012

Best Books of the Year ―Booklist 2013

Lasting Connections of 2012 ―Book Links 2013

Best Books 2012 List ―Publishers Weekly 2012

Best of 2012 List ―Kirkus Reviews 2012

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

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

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

Notable Books for a Global Society ―International Reading Association 2013

Golden Kite Award (nonfiction honor book) ―Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2013

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

Volunteer State Book Awards (nominee, middle school; and nominee, high school) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2014-2015

Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 2013

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

Spirit of Texas Reading Program (middle school) ―Texas Library Association 2014-2015

VOYA Nonfiction Honor List ―Voice of Youth Advocates 2012