Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Martin & Mahalia by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney

9780316070133Sometimes reading a book is a serendipitous event. This week we had a bit of a scheduling hiccup here at BrodartVibe, which resulted in a couple open review slots. I quickly turned to a stack of possibilities and found this gem among the books vying to be reviewed. The Pinkney husband and wife team have created a picture book as lovely as it is historically important.

It is the inspiring story of two people with a gift for the gospel who were united to stand up for social change. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s gift to the world was through words as a great orator. Mahalia Jackson’s gift was delivered through her ability to belt out a gospel song. Both could inspire people to stand up and shout, “Amen”!

The book depicts their separate paths as young people, until their two paths become one on August 28, 1963 when they unite on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Mahalia silences a crowd of thousands with a spiritual song, just prior to Martin’s “I have a Dream” speech.

I particularly liked the use of vibrant color throughout the book. Martin’s story is told in soothing greens and blues, while Mahalia’s story is delivered in fiery reds, and oranges — where they come together the color changes to purple.

Both the author and illustrator offer additional historical details and notes on their particular contribution to the book. A timeline for the road to equality is provided highlighting the events along the pathway to freedom. There is also a list of other resources on Martin and Mahalia, and the subject of civil rights.

After the dust settled on our scheduling gaps, I realized I should be less stressed and more thankful. Without the gaps I would have overlooked this wonderful book. In an age where we desperately need all the hope and inspiration we can get, this selection will be a great resource for many reasons.


Learn more and order here.


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