Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney. Scholastic Press, $19.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-545-70253-9
The grim task of writing about Dr. King’s assassination is handled with great tenderness by this husband-and-wife team. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s 39 poems sing, exhort, console, and illuminate. She explains the strike by sanitation workers that brought King to Memphis (“Come,/ please come./ The strikers need you”), describes King’s exhaustion, and celebrates his prophetic last speech (“I’ve seen the promised land,” he says. “I may not get there with you”). Brian Pinkney paints with gentle, rounded strokes, alternating portraits with atmospheric, abstract washes. He shows King adjusting the knot of his tie on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, his gaze distant. Suddenly, there’s a “Pop!” Deep emotion finds expression in impassioned bursts: “Angry fists alight with fire!/ Smashing glass!” The fairy tale hen, Henny Penny, appears throughout to warn and comfort in anguished moments: “She tries, oh, she tries/ to fly/ in the bullet’s face.” In the end, King’s legacy offers redemption and hope: “And with love, we all shall rise.” Written with an eye toward choral reading, this is a unique and remarkable resource. Ages 9–12. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 01/02/2018
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X