Illustrations by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Mildred loved Richard. Richard loved Mildred. The only problem was that Mildred was black and Richard was white and until 1967 their love was illegal. Unable to get married in their home state of Virginia, Mildred and Richard Loving went to Washington, D.C. in 1958 and tied the knot. But they grew homesick. Returning home was dangerous though and soon Richard, despite the couple being legally married in D.C. and having three children, was arrested. The Lovings decided to fight. They took their case all the way to the Supreme Court, fighting an unfair love that told them that their love was wrong simply based on the color of their skin. They won.
Reminiscent of last years Separate is Never Equal, this book is a fantastic picture book about laws that to the modern generation will seem absurd. Alko and Qualls did a great job of really making these "characters" come to life, a difficult task in a small picture book. There is such warmth in the text and illustrations that leaves no doubt that these two people, despite all the odds, despite so many people being against it, were determined to love on another and be a family.
The way it is written, one can't help but see the parallels for marriage inequality due to sexual orientation. Understanding our history and these stories in their context helps create a dialogue about current issues and I see absolutely no problem with a book that will help provoke in depth conversations concerning equality, diversity, and love.