Book Review – Death of Innocence by Mamie Till-Mobley and Christopher

February is Black History Month

I’ll be focusing this month’s posts on people and events that have shaped our country’s view of different races.



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This month’s book review is a true story. It is told by the mother of a fourteen-year-old teenager who was a victim of a hate crime while taking a trip with his family and friends to Mississippi. She tells us what happened, her response in the aftermath, and how it was a spark to the civil right movement.


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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Death of Innocence – The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America


Mamie Till-Mobley and Christopher Benson

Type of Book

Non-Fiction – Biography and True Crime

Author Background

Mamie Till-Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, tells us about her life as a mother and a civil rights activist. When she said that she wanted to write a book about what happened to Emmett, Christopher Benson, the co-author of this book, was introduced to her and listened to her story. Six months after they started working together, Mamie passed away. Benson wound up writing her story and making the April 1st deadline for the start of the publication process.

Summary of the book

The first part of the book introduces us to Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till. Emmett was just fourteen years old when his mother said it was ok to go to Mississippi with friends and family in August of 1955. While on this trip, he was killed for supposedly whistling at a white woman. We are taken through the trial in Mississippi where the two white men were acquitted. To story continues after the trial when Mamie becomes a teacher. Through her teaching and speaking about what happened to Emmett, she became a voice for the civil rights movement.

Reaction to the book

I loved the book. The way the book was written, I really got to know Emmett and Mamie in the beginning, and it made me personally vested in their story. It was hard to read about how he was killed, but the fact that she became an advocate for the civil rights out of what happened to her son is very inspiring. With the story centering on a teenager, and it provides some of the history of the civil rights movement, I believe it would be a good read for a young adult reader.

Link to the authors

If you want to learn more about Mamie Till-Mobley, (she remarried in 1957), check out her page on Wikipedia Mamie Till-Mobley.

If you want to learn more about Christopher Benson, here is a link to his website at Northwestern University, Christoper Benson.

Link to the book

If you want to purchase Death of Innocence, here is a link to Amazon – Death of Innocence . Or you can pick it up from your local bookstore or shop online at and have your purchase credited to them.

The Hard Way

Peer pressure is one of the challenge teens face. If you are looking for a good novel for the teen or young adult audience which focuses on this issue, here’s a link to a book review of The Hard Way.


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Have a great week!

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