Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

Book Information
Rating: Outstanding
Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2018
ISBN: 9780545702539
Pages: 128

In the author’s own words, Martin Rising is intended as “a requiem to honor Martin.” This substantial picture book is a beautiful marriage of swirling, dreamlike images and expressive poetry. As a biography of Martin Luther King Junior’s life, the text begins with Martin’s birth and childhood and chronicles his life leading up to his assassination, especially highlighting his key contributions in the civil rights movement. Henny Penny is an omniscient metaphor throughout that provides wisdom and foreshadowing to the reader. In the last few pages, notes from the author and artist are provided along with period photographs, timeline, and references.

This beautiful book merits recognition! An essential teaching text, the book provides some nuance to a frequently-told biography through the beautiful language and vibrant images. Young readers will be intrigued by the swirling, dream-like paintings in high contrast of warm and cool colors that perfectly accompany the story of a life so fraught with conflict. While this text is of a considerable length if intended for a primary-age audience, it is sectioned into three parts, each with several individual poems, and could easily be partitioned or reduced for the purposes of telling. Overall, this is a rich text filled with beautiful artwork and poetry that makes a wonderful tribute to the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

*Contains mild violence.