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Coretta Scott

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Overview

Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta knew, too well, the unfairness of life in the segregated south.

A yearning for equality began to grow.

Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she gave birth to a vision and a journey—with dreams of freedom for all.

This extraordinary union of poetic text by Ntozake Shange and monumental artwork by Kadir Nelson ...

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Overview

Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta knew, too well, the unfairness of life in the segregated south.

A yearning for equality began to grow.

Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she gave birth to a vision and a journey—with dreams of freedom for all.

This extraordinary union of poetic text by Ntozake Shange and monumental artwork by Kadir Nelson captures the movement for civil rights in the United States and honors its most elegant inspiration, Coretta Scott.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Poet and painter have joined forces to offer an indelible, emotional expression of the strength, beauty, and joy of one woman’s character."
Booklist (starred review)
“Poet and painter have joined forces to offer an indelible, emotional expression of the strength, beauty, and joy of one woman’s character.”
Publishers Weekly

Nelson's (We Are the Ship) jacket portrait of Coretta Scott, monumental and tender at the same time, sets the tone for this intimate picture biography. The artist's full-bleed paintings, powerfully molded and saturated with color, depict crucial moments in Scott's life: the morning when a "white school bus/ left a/ funnel of dust" in Coretta's face as she walked five miles to school; her marriage to Martin Luther King Jr., "two minds attracted in prayer," their faces joined in double profile; the March on Washington, a mass of humanity around the Washington Monument, viewed from the air. Shange's (For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf) rhythmic lines and formal syntax roll like waves-"over years/ learning and freedom/ took hold of Coretta's soul/ till she knew in her being/ that the Good Lord intended freedom/ for the Negro"-carrying readers on a soul-stirring ride through Coretta's coming of age in the Civil Rights movement and her time as King's partner in it. "Singin' always singin'," Shange ends; Nelson shows the couple at the head of a line of marchers, and then, on the final page, in tight close-up, their faces patient and strong. Ages 4-9. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Paula K. Zeller
This sumptuous book opens to a tranquil pre-dawn vista: "some southern mornings / the moon / sits like an orange / sliver by the treetops." How jarring to turn the page and see Coretta and her siblings, eyes downcast, walking five miles to "the nearest colored school / in the darkness." Through Shange's powerful poetry and Nelson's rich, expressive oil paintings on birch plywood, we watch Coretta's hurt and hardship evolve into spiritual and moral strength. The book follows Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, Jr., as they meet, wed, pray, boycott, march, sing, and inspire. At the same time, it delivers a stirring snapshot of the civil rights movement, including Jim Crow, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the March on Washington, but this book is more about complex feelings than simple facts, showing the quiet determination of young men at a sit-in—not the "Negroes in shacks / and cotton fields" described on that double-page spread, but nonetheless "living in fear for their lives." A few page turns reveal the juxtaposition of a swollen moon in a deep blue sky with the words: "things nature never intended / a child to see / haunted them." The book closes with Coretta and Martin "singin' always singin'," their hope and faith as strong as the sunlight framing their faces. An author's note provides additional context, including Martin's assassination and Coretta's courageous efforts on behalf of racial and economic justice, and peace. Reviewer: Paula K. Zeller
School Library Journal

Gr 4-9

Poetic language paired with powerful images makes this biography/history of the Civil Rights Movement a moving, provocative read-aloud. Young Coretta and her siblings solemnly "walked all/of five miles to/the nearest colored school/in the darkness/with the dew dampening/their feet." A close-up of the stoic children as the "white school bus/left a/funnel of dust/on their faces" reveals the hurt they already knew. The peaceful, prayerful profiles of Coretta and Martin juxtaposed against a stained-glass church window provide a soothing contrast-"they prayed together/found joy/and were married." Later came the sit-ins and the marches; "hundreds then thousands/white and black/marched/in Alabama/Carolina/Georgia/and Chicago." Until "a quarter of a million at the March on Washington/peacefully singing 'we shall overcome'/and listening to the words/that would inspire a nation." A bird's-eye view of the crowd looks like a garden of flowers surrounding the Reflecting Pool. Yet, despite the song and solidarity, "things nature never intended/a child to see/haunted them...." The book ends with several spreads of marchers and singers accompanied by an excerpt from the traditional gospel song "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round." Nelson's stirring oil paintings on plywood are all full-spread with large, easy-to-share images. An author's note provides a summary of the subject's life and of the Civil Rights Movement, though there are no credits or references to the songs. Every library will want copies of this lyrical tribute to an elegant woman and the era she represents.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools

Kirkus Reviews
There have been many books written about Martin Luther King Jr., but precious few about Coretta Scott King. Now the poet and painter who previously collaborated on Ellington Was Not a Street (2004) join again for a heartfelt homage that is more adulation than book-report biography. Shange strikes an emotional chord in her recitative about Scott King's youth in the time of Jim Crow, seeking inspiration from the words of a spiritual, finding a soul mate in a young divinity student and joining him on marches and protests. However, the true power of this title lies in Nelson's full-page portraits, which convey determination, fear, serenity and weariness. Words can describe segregation and marching for freedom; the images of a young Coretta and her siblings walking miles to their school or of four college students sitting in at a lunch counter speak rivers. A double-page spread of freedom marchers carrying American flags silhouetted against a yellow sky will resonate with children and linger in their minds. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
Booklist (starred review)
“Poet and painter have joined forces to offer an indelible, emotional expression of the strength, beauty, and joy of one woman’s character.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061253645
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 885,259
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.24 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange is a celebrated poet and author of many novels and plays, including the Obie Award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, which was made into a feature film. Ms. Shange is also the author of several children’s books, including the Coretta Scott King Award-winning book Ellington Was Not a Street, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Kadir Nelson won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He received Caldecott Honors for Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he also garnered a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and won an NAACP Image Award. Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Nelson's authorial debut, We Are the Ship, was a New York Times bestseller, a Coretta Scott King Author Award winner, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book. He is also the author and illustrator of the acclaimed Baby Bear.

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Customer Reviews

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