Martin and Mahalia: His Words, Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Little, Brown, August 2013) is a poetic biography of the two influential civil rights individuals who together shared a message during the March on Washington in 1963. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations are sweeping and colorful, bringing the reader in to the tale of two talented individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr., is obviously the more well known of the two, but I loved how the lives of both were weaved together. Martin spoke and Mahalia sang. It is a vivid reminder that each has a talent, and both could use that talent to share the gospel of freedom and encourage Civil Rights. Ms Pinkney’s text throughout brings an added talent to the story: that of poetry. I loved the rhythm of the text as I read it.
The picture book culminates in the March on Washington, with the “I have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahalia Jackson’s performance at that historical day. I loved how powerful that moment felt as I read the picture book. I had to find the videos of the events to compare. Unfortunately, the audio recording is pretty poor for Mahalia’s song, but it must suffice.
I’m reviewing this now in anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of the August March on Washington. What a special summer that was for Civil Rights!
Note: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher of Martin and Mahalia for review consideration.