cover image Jesse Jackson: A Biography

Jesse Jackson: A Biography

Patricia C. McKissack. Scholastic, $11.95 (108pp) ISBN 978-0-590-43181-1

McKissack, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, offers a look at Jackson that is everything a biography should be. Her presentation is up-to-date, lively, even-handed and accessible. This accomplishment is all the more impressive because the author's simple target-age group sentences often contain deeper meanings, e.g., ``Did Dr. King feel something was going to happen to him? Many people believe he did.'' Jackson's private life (his family and his beginnings as an athlete) is treated briefly but adequately, often in terms of his experiences with discrimination; the majority of the book is devoted to Jackson's rise as a preacher/spokesman for causes and his astoundingly creative leadership. McKissack doesn't shy away from Jackson's difficulties (the ``Hymietown'' incident, for example), and her mastery of balance is a pleasure. Readers must decide whether Jackson is aggressive and overbearing or simply intense and flamboyant; either way, the book provocatively presents a take-charge leader. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)