Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells

The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist

by Philip Dray
illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

Journalist Ida B. Wells faces the greatest challenge of her life as a tireless crusader for justice and civil rights.

In 1863, when Ida B. Wells was not yet two years old, the Emancipation Proclamation freed her from the bond of slavery. Blessed with a strong will, an eager mind, and a deep belief in America’s promise of “freedom and justice for all,” young Ida held her family together, defied society’s conventions, and used her position as a journalist to speak against injustice. But Ida’s greatest challenge arose after one of her friends was lynched. How could one headstrong young woman help free America from the looming “shadow of lawlessness”?

Author Philip Dray tells the inspirational story of Ida B. Wells and her lifelong commitment to end injustice. Award-winning illustrator Stephen Alcorn’s remarkable illustrations recreate the tensions that threatened to upend a nation while paying tribute to a courageous American hero.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $18.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-417-4
Publication Date: 3/1/2008
Page Count: 48
Size: 9-5/8″ x 12″
Age Range: 10 – 14
Language: English
Format: eBook
ISBN: 978-1-68263-310-6
Age Range: 10 – 14
Language: English

Purchase this eBook through the following vendors:

Barnes & Noble

AR Level: 6.3
GRL: P, Gr 3
Lexile: NC950L
Themes: African-American History, Journalism, Lynchings, Perseverence
BISAC 1: JNF007020 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Historical
BISAC 2: JNF018010 JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / United States / African American
BISAC 3: JNF053140 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Social Issues / Prejudice & Racism


“Alcorn’s striking, symbol-infused hand-colored prints on creamy vellum get star billing… Author notes, a timeline and more enhance this age-appropriate introduction to difficult issues and the woman who educated the world about them.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“In this stirring tribute to an African-American journalist… Adding strong notes of reverence to the narrative, Alcorn’s big cubist paintings center on Wells… Capped by a well-chosen list of additional resources at several levels, this handsomely packaged introduction to one of the most important progenitors of the Civil Rights Movement is just the ticket for young readers not yet ready to tackle the Fradins’ definitive profile.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Alcorn’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations have a fluid quality, conveying both action within the story and movement from one scene to the next. The use of warm colors and fanciful elements help to mute the harsh realities of lynching and segregation, while still maintaining a respectful tone. Appended with notes on Well’s later life, a time line, and bibliography, this makes a good choice for middle-grade readers studying the early period of the civil rights movement.” ―Booklist

“An excellent picture-book biography… Alcorn’s inventive, imaginative artwork softens the violence without minimizing it.” ―School Library Journal

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“Eloquently written text combined with whimsical illustrations, is sure to be a valuable addition to any biographical collection.” ―Library Media Connection

“The highly stylized cubist-inspired illustrations form a sophisticated counterpoint to the matter-of-fact text adding drama and emphasis to every page.” ―Parents’ Choice

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Parents’ Choice Recommended Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2008

Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts ―National Council of Teachers of English, 2009

Amelia Bloomer Project ―Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association, 2009

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Social Studies, Grades K-6) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2008

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Macy’s Multicultural Collection of Children’s Literature –Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), 2008

Children’s Books: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing ―New York Public Library, 2008

Garden State Children’s Book Awards (Non-fiction Nominee) ―New Jersey Library Association, 2011

Land of Enchantment Book Awards (Picture Narrative Master List) ―New Mexico Library Association, New Mexico Council of IRA, 2012-2013

UMW Reading Program ―United Methodist Women, 2014

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Meet the Author

Philip Dray was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award for At The Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America. It was through his work on this book that he became acquainted with Ida B. Wells and her compelling story. He lives in New York. Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells is his first book for children.

Meet the Illustrator

Stephen Alcorn has illustrated numerous books for young people, including Keep On! and Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells. He lives in Virginia. You can visit  his website here.