Climbing Lincoln’s Steps

The African American Journey

“Change. It happens slowly.
at a

Important moments in African American history have occurred at the Lincoln Memorial: Marian Anderson’s concert in 1939; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech in 1963; and a visit in 2009 from the first black president and his family. This book interweaves these key events with the story of black Americans’ struggle for equality.

  • 32 Pages
  • 8.5" x 11"
  • 9780807512050
  • November 2016

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  • Each moment is narrated in the present tense, providing sensory details to evoke atmosphere and just enough background to create meaning for the audience. Bootman’s illustrations clearly portray the emotions—fear, determination, joy—of the people present at each moment. The final two-page spread of the First Family viewing the Memorial is especially moving.

    - Kirkus Reviews

  • This handsome picture book outlines the history of the civil rights struggle and its leaders…The book’s title is a powerful metaphor, and the beautiful watercolor paintings feature stirring scenes of huge, mobilized crowds, as well as close-up portraits of inspiring leaders.

    - Booklist

  • This attractive, accessible title uses the Lincoln Memorial as a vehicle to outline the history of the Civil Rights Movement…Bootman’s realistic watercolor spreads are striking…”Change. It happens slowly. One small step at a time,” is the refrain that echoes repeatedly along with the “Pitter-patter…Click, click, click…Clomp, clomp” of the children, women, and men who climb the steps of the iconic structure.

    - School Library Journal

  • Terrific snapshots of history are shown through the text and are further enhanced by the watercolor illustrations, which could stand alone. The repetition of imagery and a key phrase add to the literary strength…This is an excellent chronicle of important steps made toward equality since Abraham Lincoln in a picture book format.

    - Library Media Connection

Awards & Accolades

  • 2011 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Grades Pre-K - 3
  • A 2011 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People


Colin Bootman

Climbing Lincoln's Steps - The African American Journey

Common Core

RI.K.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,19 RI.1-2.1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10


  • Accelerated Reader Points: 0.50
  • ATOS Level: 4.90