Review of Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America

Hand in HandHand in Hand:
Ten Black Men Who Changed America

by Andrea Davis Pinkney; 
illus. by Brian Pinkney
Intermediate, Middle School    Disney-Jump at the Sun    243 pp.
10/12    978-1-4231-4257-7    $19.99
Presenting ten biographical vignettes in chronological order — Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack H. Obama II — the Pinkneys create a testament to African American males that, taken together, tells one big story of triumph (a story that, incidentally, spans American history). Each profile, fifteen to thirty pages long, includes an introductory poem, a watercolor portrait, and spot illustrations. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations are a perfect marriage of line, color, and medium and complement Andrea Pinkney’s colloquial and ebullient text. “Benjamin Banneker was born under a lucky star. Came into this world a freeborn child, a blessing bestowed on few of his hue.” Each profile is compact yet comprehensive, but since virtually all of these men were eloquent writers and speakers, it’s mildly disappointing that more of their own words didn’t find their way into the text. Still, this is an impressive accomplishment, and a worthy companion to Kadir Nelson’s Heart and Soul (rev. 11/11). Sources, further reading, a timeline, and an index are appended.

About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is a school librarian for the Modesto City Schools District in California.

Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: Transformations
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  1. History written and illustrated in truthful illumination.

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