Happy Book Birthday to Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Shadra Strickland, which was published today! (I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.)
This "documentary novel" is actually a nonfiction story in verse, told in free verse poetry in the alternating perspectives of Mildred and Richard Loving. It begins in childhood, when Richard was an older neighborhood boy who hung around with Mildred's older brothers. These early interactions quickly set the stage for their eventual romance, marriage, and lengthy court battle to have their marriage legally recognized in their home state of Virginia.
It may be shocking for today's young readers to realize how recently such interracial relationships were against the law (Alabama's anti-miscegenation law was reversed in the year 2000), and the book does a great job of conveying how much this law took a toll on the Lovings and their family.
Even at 250 pages, the verse style makes for a quick read, but the focus on the romantic relationship between the two as well as some strong language makes this a book more appropriate for middle and high school readers. (For elementary schoolers, I highly recommend the picture book, The Case for Loving: the fight for interracial marriage (2015) by Selina Alko and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.)
One nitpick is that I wish that the book had included original photographs of the Lovings themselves in addition to the drawings and other contemporary photographs (such as the photograph the picture book covered was based on). Seeing the Lovings as real people in a real image just helps bring their story home even more.