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On Rising

Fifty years ago today — April 4, 1968 — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s transcendent Martin Rising: Requiem for a King (Scholastic, 2018), brilliantly illustrated by her husband, Brian Pinkney, honors the civil rights icon's life and work by shining light on his death. Roger calls the Pinkneys’ book “a resplendent volume of poetry and painting devoted — daringly, I think — to King’s last days.” I encourage you to watch this short (twelve minute) video of the poet/author/publisher Andrea Davis Pinkney discussing Martin Rising with Horn Book editor in chief, Roger Sutton. This is a special video edition of the Talks with Roger series produced by the Horn Book and sponsored by featured publishers. Watching and listening to Andrea talk about her book’s inspiration, Dr. King’s legacy, and the triumphant art is powerful and moving.

And speaking of powerful and moving, ninety years ago today in 1928 (as I learned from Google) Maya Angelou was born. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates her life by featuring her voice as she reads aloud sections of her poem “Still I Rise”; she’s joined by the voices of Alicia Keyes, America Ferrera, Martina McBride, Guy Johnson (Angelou’s son), Laverne Cox, and Oprah Winfrey: “individuals whose lives she has inspired, and who aspire to live by her legacy today.”

Listening to Angelou's "Still I Rise" after watching the Martin Rising video makes this April 4th feel particularly holy.
Baby boy born,
Eyes sparkling.

Came into this "Jim Crow" world
brought daylight to this unfair world,
this legal-to-cheat blacks world,
with God-given gifts:

big voice,
sharp mind,
sparkling-eyed vision
that could see something special
in tomorrow's promise.

—from "Sparkling-Eyed Child: January 15, 1929" by Andrea Davis Pinkney


Read Dr. Michelle H. Martin's review of Martin Rising from the March/April 2018 Horn Book Magazine.

Follow the tag for more by and about Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Visit our Talking About Race and Making a Difference resource pages.
Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is reviews editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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