Monday, January 20, 2014

Non-Fiction Monday: Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song

by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney. 40 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, July, 2013. 9780316070133. (Borrowed from the public library.)

Do we really need another book about Martin Luther King Jr.? Well, yes. I have a variety of books about him in my middle school library, from picture books to longer biographies. But this one is a new collaboration by the Pinkneys. Not only is a new book by them an automatic purchase regardless of subject, this one is a dual biography and it's gorgeous. Sure kids know about MLK, but is the average young reader familiar with Mahalia Jackson?

Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahalia Jackson were friends as well as prominent Civil Rights leaders. In alternating double-page spreads, readers learn that both were "born with the gift of gospel." Martin had a gift for preaching, having learned by watching his father preach weekly. Mahalia had a gift for singing gospel and her church treasured her. As the two grew into adulthood, King used his words to inspire and Jackson took gospel music mainstream. When she recorded a song called, "Move On Up a Little Higher," it sold two million records and King realized that her voice had the power to inspire as well. It is at this point that the two share the page and begin working together to achieve Civil Rights, culminating in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and King's "I Have a Dream" speech. 

Brian Pinkney's swirling palette flows from cool blues and greens for King to vibrant reds and orange for Jackson. Andrea Davis Pinkney's rhythmic, commanding prose conveys the ideals of their life's work. The energy of the paintings and words combine and practically leap off the pages.

Backmatter includes notes by both author and illustrator and an illustrated timeline. 

Make room on the shelf for this.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a wonderful book. I hope lots of people find it. Thanks for telling me about it.