“Preaching To The Chickens: The Story Of Young John Lewis” By Jabari Asim, Illustrated By E.B. Lewis

John wants to be a preacher when he grows up — a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice. Celebrating ingenuity and dreaming big, this inspirational story includes an author’s note about John Lewis, who grew up to be a member of the Freedom Riders; chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; demonstrator on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; and Georgia congressman, who is still an activist today. Ages 4–8.



About The Author

Jabari Asim is the author of What Obama Means . . . For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future, The N Word, and several books for children. He is also a scholar-in-residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and editor-in-chief of The Crisis, the magazine of the NAACP. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Essence, Ebony, and other publications. He recently was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship.


Read Aloud Tips

  • Introduce the book and the author by reading the author’s note about John Lewis.
  • Ask the students what they think will happen next.
  • Create an audience of “chickens” and have students pick a topic that they are passionate about. Have them teach and preach to the chickens about the topic.

“A glimpse into the childhood whimsy of an important African-American congressman who has become famous for his words. . . . Illustrator Lewis’ signature watercolors paint a lively picture of John Lewis’ life growing up on a farm with a close and hardworking Christian family. … After absorbing this must-read bit of personal history about John Lewis, young readers will never see this serious faced congressman in quite the same way.” – Kirkus Reviews

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Information Sheet – Preaching to the Chickens

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