One Book, One Bedford ~ MARCH: Programs for Teens and Young Readers

Submitted on behalf of the One Book, One Bedford Committee

The One Book, One Bedford program for John Lewis’s graphic-novel trilogy, MARCH, includes events for teens and younger readers—even those who are too young for the books themselves. The Youth Services librarians at the Bedford Free Public Library have been closely involved with the planning for MARCH programming for children and teens.

Young Adult librarian Pam Aghababian has incorporated MARCH into the regular Teen Advisory Group (TAG) and Middle School Book Club programming.

The TAG group on Wednesday, October 18, will feature artist Eli Portman leading a Comic Book Drawing Crash Course from 1:30pm to 3:00pm in the first-floor Meeting Room. Portman will teach aspects of drawing your own comic book – storytelling, paneling, word bubbles, dynamic drawing, and more! Snacks will be provided; no sign up is necessary.

The Children’s Room will also host an exciting “Comics Crash Course” for older grade-school participants, with lessons on storytelling, panelling, word-bubbles, dynamic drawing, and more. Led by artist Eli Portman, this workshop will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 3:30-5:00pm, following his program for TAG members described above. Registration is required for the 3:30 event; check the BFPL website for details.

The Middle School Book Club will feature MARCH: BOOK ONE as its selection for October. Interested students in grades six through eight are invited to read the first volume and participate in the book club discussion on Monday, October 30, at 3:00pm in the upstairs Conference Room.

One relevant picture book, WE MARCH by Shane W. Evans, will be presented in a StoryWalk, installed in the Children’s Room from October 14 through November 9. Shane Evans’s compelling picture book follows a family as they experience the 1963 March on Washington. One of the powerful illustrations features John Lewis, author of MARCH. As children’s librarian Elaine Garnache explains, “We chose this book because MARCH is told from an adult’s perspective, and WE MARCH offers a child’s eye view.” The StoryWalk will be at a child’s eye level, so Bedford families can walk along with the family in the book. “Community is a major theme in Shane Evans’s work, so it is fitting for our community,” Garnache noted.

Both the Teen Area and the Children’s Room have a wide selection of related books about the Civil Rights Movement.

The MARCH trilogy, co-written by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, covers Lewis’s youth in rural Alabama, his young adulthood as a student activist and Freedom Rider, and his leadership in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Major events from the Civil Rights Era, including the 1963 March on Washington, the Freedom Ride movement, and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March for voting rights, are covered in detail.

MARCH is recommended for students in middle school and older; it does contain scenes of violence and biased language that may be difficult for young readers.

The One Book, One Bedford program is open to all, with events planned for all ages and a variety of ways to participate. Books are available to borrow at the Bedford Library, and can be purchased through traditional and online booksellers. More information on the program can be found at and this link will take you to a scalable/printable program calendar.

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