Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim

On a southern Alabama farm, young John Lewis looks forward to the coming of spring because that’s when the chicks arrive. Though there is no end to farm work, John doesn’t mind the chore he’s been assigned: taking care of the chickens and their young.

John loves to talk to the chickens, often sharing his childlike faith with them—“Enjoy this day that God has given us.” Their soft clucking assures him that they agree.

John’s devout Christian family attends church faithfully. Listening to the preacher, John decides he wants to preach just like him. The chickens become his congregation as he preaches the good news and the Beatitudes. When the chickens fight, John proclaims that peacemakers are blessed. When a hen doesn’t want to share the food and water, he preaches that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed because they will be satisfied.

As John cares for the chickens, he learns to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves— invaluable experience for a child who, years later, as an adult, became active in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement in the United States and who serves as a Georgia congressman.

Beautifully illustrated by renowned illustrator E.B. Lewis, this children’s picture book based on John Lewis’ life is a delightful tale of faith nurtured by hardworking parents and a church community filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. (Nancy Paulsen Books)

About the Author

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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