Hand 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.
From the January/February 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.