Martin Rising: Requiem for a King
Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

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Annotation: This rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent struggle for civil rights as he transforms America through the spirit of love.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #161151
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Pinkney, J. Brian,
Pages: 127 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-545-70253-4 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1321-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-545-70253-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1321-4
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 2016031408
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
After establishing Martin Luther King Jr.'s characteristics, even in childhood, that would compel him to fight oppression, the poetic narrative jumps to King's thirty-ninth birthday. The remaining poems detail what transpired between February 1968, when sanitation workers went on strike in Memphis, and April 1968, when King was assassinated. Swirling watercolor, gouache, and India-ink illustrations give life and movement to King's story. Timelines. Bib.
Publishers Weekly
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.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 4 Up A powerful celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., set against the last few months of his life and written in verse. Divided into three sections, ("Daylight," "Darkness," and "Dawn"), Andrea Davis Pinkney's poems focus on the winter and spring of 1968, from King's birthday on January 15 through the horror of his assassination on April 4 and end with a tribute to his legacy of hope on Easter Sunday, April 14. The poems begin broadly, painting a portrait of spring emerging in Memphis as garbage collectors fight against discriminatory wage policies, ultimately bringing King to that city to organize and uplift the movement. But as the last moments of King's life tick away, the narrative zooms in, detailing the emotional beats of his final public speeches, the feverish exhaustion of long days and nights away from home, and the relief of stolen moments of leisure with his closest friends. Throughout, the crowds filling churches seeking inspiration and bravely marching in the face of violence are as much a part of the story as King himself. Brian Pinkney's watercolor, gouache, and India ink illustrations convey warm moments of victory and joy, as well as the darkness and chaos of loss, through swirls of color. Impressionistic brush-stroke portraits of King alternate with spreads full of faces listening, marching, and mourning. Back matter includes author and artist reflections, a time line, and additional historical information with photographs. VERDICT Beautifully illustrated and begging to be read aloud, this poetry collection is an exceptional classroom tool for civil rights lessons and offers much for individual readers to linger over. Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The multiaward-winning Pinkneys' requiem lovingly explains in a set of "docu-poems" the events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, particularly the Memphis sanitation workers' strikes that brought him to the city where he eventually died. The author humanizes King through the love he has for his family and movement comrades (including an April 4, 1968, pillow fight with his brother, Andrew Young, and Ralph Abernathy) as well as the viral bug he suffers with as he gives his last, prescient, and momentous "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech. The illustrator, blending influences of Marc Chagall and Norman Lewis, gives the story a loosely drawn, vibrantly warm, watercolor haze, which, with halos of yellows and oranges and even wings, give King and his family an almost beatific, if not saintly, glow, even in their sorrows. The character of Henny Penny, who is a blend of the fabled chicken and a wise black grandmother, provides the Greek-chorus narration in a device that is understandable if sometimes-distracting. Catholicism creates hagiographies to explain their martyrs' and other saints' deaths, whether history concurs with their feats for the faith or, in some cases, their very existences. Even as U.S. black communities wrestle with Dr. King's personal foibles, media-glossed images, and complex messages, here readers have a children's book in which adults may also find succor, if not inspiration, considering the current reverting-to-pre-Civil Rights administration. Spiritually vital. (author's and illustrator's notes, history, timeline, bibliography) (Poetry. 8-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Andrea Davis Pinkney's breathtaking collection of "docu-poems" chronicles Dr. King's final months and is divided into three sections: daylight, darkness, and dawn. Blending whimsy and wisdom, metaphor and reality, the powerful verses focus on the time King spent organizing the Memphis sanitation workers in their fight for decent working conditions. As the title declares, this book is a requiem for a man whose leadership is as conspicuously absent today as it was in the aftermath of April 4, 1968. King is portrayed in familiar ways: a loving family man and rousing speaker. But readers also see him in moments of frailty (weakened by fever, emotionally exhausted) and uninhibited boyishness (pillow fighting with Andrew Young and Ralph Abernathy). Brian Pinkney's characteristic, swirling illustrations are sometimes so impressionistic as to be abstract, but never fail to convey the essence of the accompanying poems, from deep reverence for King, to solidarity with the sanitation workers, to the heat of a "peach-meat" Tennessee sun. Each poem trembles under the weight of the story it tells, juxtaposing moments of spring renewal, such as the blooming of forsythia, with the mistreatment of the workers. Some poems are abrupt, while others build in momentum like King's own eloquence, blending his words seamlessly with Andrea Davis Pinkney's. This packs an emotional wallop and, in perfect homage, soars when read aloud.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 126-127).
Word Count: 6,605
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 194045 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 730L

A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

* "Unique and remarkable." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Each poem trembles under the weight of the story it tells... Martin Rising packs an emotional wallop and, in perfect homage, soars when read aloud." --Booklist, starred review


In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King's life -- and of his assassination -- through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Andrea's stunning poetic requiem, illustrated with Brian's lyrical and colorful artwork, brings a fresh perspective to Martin Luther King, the Gandhi-like, peace-loving activist whose dream of equality -- and whose courage to make it happen -- changed the course of American history. And even in his death, he continues to transform and inspire all of us who share his dream.

Wonderful classroom plays of Martin Rising can be performed by using the "Now Is the Time" history and the 1968 timeline at the back of the book as narration -- and adding selected poems to tell the story!


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