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|Place To Land|
Author: Wittenstein, Barry
The story of Martin Luther King, Jr., the 1963 March on Washington, his legendary speech and how he came to write it.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (07/15/19)
Booklist (+) (06/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 06/01/2019 *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—in the Willard Hotel before the March on Washington—he 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—past, present, and future—all 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—a striking metaphor—with 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. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.