Martin Rising: Requiem for a King
Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Scholastic Press, 2018
A collection of brilliant “docu-poems” summarizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s(MLK) birth, life and family, and time up to the weeks and months before his death. The time before his death includes his birthday January 15 through April 4, 1968. The story includes the sanitation worker’s strike in Memphis and its challenges, MLK’s last sermon and his last night. It also includes the half-mast flags, funeral and mourning of a community who had lost their leader. Author Andrea Davis weaves in MLK quotes on love into a valentine poem ending with,
“…folks in Memphis
are down on their knees
proposing to Equality:
The book introduces readers to acronyms like GOD: Gift of Desperation, their motivation for the strike, and COME: Community on the Move for Equality. She uses Henny Penny, a chicken of “The Sky is Falling” fame, as narrator to illuminate, punctuate and foretell events in the story.
In loose, vibrant colors, Brian Pinkney’s illustrations show the emotions of the events, both emotions displayed and emotions held in by the African-American community during their struggles. A brilliant piece of work on all accounts.