Wednesday, November 27, 2013


 A quick pre-Thanksgiving post from my CYBILS nonfiction stack. The Pinkneys, who wrote SIT-IN, which is one of my all time favorite civil rights picture books, have done it again, with a book that captures the friendship of Martin Luther King and Mahalia Jackson.

"They were each born with the gift of the gospel."

Martin SPOKE the gospel
            PRAYED the gospel
            SOUGHT the gospel
            TAUGHT the gospel

Mahalia SANG the gospel
              WORKED the gospel
              LED the gospel
              SPREAD the gospel

The book focuses on the March in Washington. Martin could not speak until he could get the crowd quieted. Mahalia stepped forward and sang, then said, "Tell them about your dream, Martin." That's when MLK gave his famous speech.

I love, love, love the design of this book.  Everything from the fonts and colors to the illustrations is perfect. Certain words, words of power are larger, and in a different font and color, and lend to the poetic feel of the book.   Brian Pinkney's illustrations convey the feeling of moving along a route toward a goal, I especially love the page where Marin is speaking in Washington, DC, and Pinkney elected to turn the book sideways to convey the size of the crowd. In "Painting Parallels" in the back of the book, Brian Pinkney talks about some of the decisions he made about the art, weaving words into his illustrations, an image of a dove on almost every (maybe every?) page, his decision to use blue and green for the Martin and read and orange for Mahalia and then purples and magentas for the two of them. I loved seeing into the illustrator's head in this way.

Other back page material is also really helpful. There is a a two-page spread, "His Words, Her Song" that tells more about the March on Washington, as well as a timeline. There is a list of other books to read, and "discography" by Mahalia Jackson.

Here's an interview of the author and illustrator team.

Definitely one you will want to own. 

1 comment:

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carol,what a delicious review of a book I want to read now!