A Place to Land
A Place to Land

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Annotation: Tells the story of how Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled to pen what became his famed "I Have a Dream speech, delivered at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Genre: Government
Catalog Number: #190338
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Holiday House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Pinkney, Jerry,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8234-4331-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-5733-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8234-4331-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-5733-1
Dewey: 323.092
LCCN: 2018042407
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
The backstory of a renowned address is revealed.Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" is one of the most famous ever given, yet with this book, Wittenstein and Pinkney give young readers new insights into both the speech and the man behind it. When Dr. King arrived in Washington, D.C., for the 1963 March on Washington, the speech was not yet finished. He turned to his fellow civil rights leaders for advice, and after hours of listening, he returned to his room to compose, fine-tuning even the day of the march. He went on to deliver a powerful speech, but as he closed, he moved away from the prepared text and into a stirring sermon. "Martin was done circling. / The lecture was over. / He was going to church, / his place to land, / and taking a congregation / of two hundred and fifty thousand / along for the ride." Although much hard work still lay ahead, the impact of Dr. King's dramatic words and delivery elevated that important moment in the struggle for equal rights. Wittenstein's free-verse narrative perfectly captures the tension leading up to the speech as each adviser urged his own ideas while remaining a supportive community. Pinkney's trademark illustrations dramatize this and the speech, adding power and further illuminating the sense of historical importance.Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history. (author's note, lists of advisers and speakers, bibliography, source notes) (Informational picture book. 7-10)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 25 Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech has been etched into the public consciousness. Yet King's actual speech was an in-the-moment response to the audience climate during the March on Washington. A bolt of encouragement from gospel singer Mahalia Jackson prompts King to "Tell them about the dream," igniting the raw passion that his pre-rehearsed words had been missing. Wittenstein's straightforward, informative text conveys both the urgency of King's words and the weight of his responsibility as a social justice icon, but does not compromise the sobering reality of the country's racial unrest in 1963. Pinkney's warm illustrations are reminiscent of courtroom sketches, transporting readers into the historic moment. He explains that he chose to use collage as "a way to reinforce place." Key figures, such as Senator John Lewis and diplomat Andrew Young, are labeled. One powerful double-page spread features the headshots of fallen social justice heroes to present a visual reminder of the blood, sweat, and pain extracted on the road to justice. Figures who were struck down by the brutal violence of white supremacy, like Emmett Till and Medgar Evans, have been drawn with their eyes closed. VERDICT Wittenstein and Pinkney's collaboration is an evocative study in King's speechwriting process. A work that takes a familiar topic and shapes it into a moving portrait of undeterred determination and conviction. Highly recommended for public and school libraries. Vanessa Willoughby, School Library Journal
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The backstory of a renowned address is revealed.Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" is one of the most famous ever given, yet with this book, Wittenstein and Pinkney give young readers new insights into both the speech and the man behind it. When Dr. King arrived in Washington, D.C., for the 1963 March on Washington, the speech was not yet finished. He turned to his fellow civil rights leaders for advice, and after hours of listening, he returned to his room to compose, fine-tuning even the day of the march. He went on to deliver a powerful speech, but as he closed, he moved away from the prepared text and into a stirring sermon. "Martin was done circling. / The lecture was over. / He was going to church, / his place to land, / and taking a congregation / of two hundred and fifty thousand / along for the ride." Although much hard work still lay ahead, the impact of Dr. King's dramatic words and delivery elevated that important moment in the struggle for equal rights. Wittenstein's free-verse narrative perfectly captures the tension leading up to the speech as each adviser urged his own ideas while remaining a supportive community. Pinkney's trademark illustrations dramatize this and the speech, adding power and further illuminating the sense of historical importance.Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history. (author's note, lists of advisers and speakers, bibliography, source notes) (Informational picture book. 7-10)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The civil rights movement is magnified through the intimate lens of Martin Luther King Jr.'s momentous "I Have a Dream" speech, as the Willard Hotel before the March on Washington wrestles with what to say. Thoughtful, humble, vulnerable, and strong, Dr. King weighs his advisers' guidance. As he bends over a legal pad, pencil in hand, the faces of those for whom he fights sit on his shoulders. "Martin saw Rosa, / Fannie Lou, / Emmett, / . . . and so many others / . . . arrested, beaten, shot, and hung." Several important African American figures are honored st, present, and future l whose fates intersect in the moment when the reverend takes the pulpit. Dr. King leaves uncertainty behind as he abandons the agonized-over speech in favor of improvisation, summoning "the passion of a Sunday morning sermon." Wittenstein's free verse, beautifully subdued, flows crisp and clear, leaving room for Pinkney to shine. Collage artwork gives the impression of torn fabric striking metaphor th holes being patched by old photographs of hymnals, maps, marchers, and flags, adding texture and tension to the expressive pencil and watercolor renderings. Back matter includes notes from author and artist, sources, bibliography, and further information on peripheral figures. Pair with Kadir Nelson's I Have a Dream (2012) for discussions on the power of words and how, as this book reminds us, "those battles continue to be fought" today.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,273
Reading Level: 5.6
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 505260 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:8.4 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q77744
Lexile: 990L

As a new generation of activists demands an end to racism, A Place to Land reflects on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and the movement that it galvanized.

Winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
Selected for the Texas Bluebonnet Master List


Much has been written about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington. But there's little on his legendary speech and how he came to write it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was once asked if the hardest part of preaching was knowing where to begin. No, he said. The hardest part is knowing where to end. "It's terrible to be circling up there without a place to land."

Finding this place to land was what Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled with, alongside advisors and fellow speech writers, in the Willard Hotel the night before the March on Washington, where he gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. But those famous words were never intended to be heard on that day, not even written down for that day, not even once.

Barry Wittenstein teams up with legendary illustrator Jerry Pinkney to tell the story of how, against all odds, Martin found his place to land.

An ALA Notable Children's Book
A Capitol Choices Noteworthy Title
Nominated for an NAACP Image Award
A Bank Street Best Book of the Year
A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
A Booklist Editors' Choice
Named a Best Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and School Library Journal
Selected for the CBC Champions of Change Showcase


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