In the 1940s, America was still suffering strongly under segregation and Jim Crow laws. So when Lanier Phillips joined the Navy, he was hoping to escape the danger of racism, but he found it running rampant in the military as well. When his ship hit the rocks near Newfoundland and started to sink, Lanier and the other African Americans were afraid of the reception they?d receive on shore. Surprisingly, Lanier found people who didn?t care about the color of his skin, and the kindness he encountered worked wonders for his spirit and helped him escape the bitterness that used to fill his heart.

 “Lanier’s heart broke thinking of his Black comrades who chose to stay on the ship rather than face the racism they believed awaited them ashore.”

A Change of Heart tells an extraordinary story in an age-appropriate way, one that many young readers will benefit from hearing. It is a somewhat wordy book, but this picture book will give kids an idea of some of the many ways racism affected (and continues to affect) the everyday lives of those who suffer its ill effects. Lovely illustrations by Erin Bennett Banks further bring out the heart of this story; the clean colors and straightforward drawings bring the characters to life.