Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Praise

     Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

         It was an exciting Monday morning this week to hear the awards at ALA Midwinter. Alyson's post shared some of the non-fiction books that will now wear a shiny medal. I have not read them all, so I have some catching up to do! Congratulations to everyone!

               It is always a pleasure to read about Dr. Martin Luther King, just days after celebrating his birthday, too. Yes, there are numerous books about him, about his "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963. This time, Barry Wittenstein has shown the careful deliberation of Dr. King to want so much to respect those thousands who were coming to hear what he had to say. He's shown those others who added their thoughtful words the night before, to find the right "picture" that would be forever ingrained in people's minds -- and hearts. Those meeting with him thought they had a good idea, that a "bad check" needed to be made good, at last, after so many years of the promise of equality. 
               However, Dr. King went off to bed without anyone knowing what wonders would happen the next day. Actually even Dr. King didn't know until the famed Mahalia Jackson shouted: "Tell them about the dream, Martin." 
              History is made in those small turnings in a moment. Martin listened and realized that while many of his people had heard it, many, many others all over America, white people, had not. Wittenstein tells the good parts, adding in those not so good, like the meeting with President Kennedy who up to then was "slow to embrace the civil rights movement". And while much acclaim was there, Dr. King and his brothers knew that battles were to come. 
              Jerry Pinkney's illustrations flourish on the page with so much energy and thoughtfulness. The people closest to Dr. King are there, serious and contemplative. People in Dr. King's thoughts are there, like Rosa Parks and Emmett Till, shadows who fill his thoughts. And the crowds are there, right there by the soldiers in full battle gear, but it was a day of peace, as shown in the beautiful double-page spread of people linking arms and singing "We Shall Overcome". 

              Added information at the back includes author's and illustrator's notes, short bios of the Willard Hotel advisors (those who helped the night before), Other Voices, and "Who Spoke at the March on Washington", plus Source Notes and a Bibliography.


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