When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

( 4 )

Overview


A harmonious introduction to one of our country's most important singers--as envisioned by two of our industry's most important voices. Wide trade & institutional appeal.

Marian Anderson is best known for her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, which drew an integrated crowd of 75,000 people in pre-Civil Rights America. While this momentous event showcased the uniqueness of her voice, the strength of her character, & the struggles of the times in which she...

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Overview


A harmonious introduction to one of our country's most important singers--as envisioned by two of our industry's most important voices. Wide trade & institutional appeal.

Marian Anderson is best known for her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, which drew an integrated crowd of 75,000 people in pre-Civil Rights America. While this momentous event showcased the uniqueness of her voice, the strength of her character, & the struggles of the times in which she lived, it is only part of her story. Like the operatic arias Marian would come to sing, Ryan's text is as moving as a libretto, & Selznick's pictures as exquisitely detailed & elaborately designed as a stage set. What emerges most profoundly from their shared vision is a role model of courage.

An Honor Book for the 2003 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

In extensive endnotes, Ryan and Selznick mention the many Eleanor Roosevelt stories they heard after publishing Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride (Scholastic, 1999). One fortuitous tale, concerning the First Lady and Marian Anderson, led to this companion book. Instead of the silver tones of the earlier title, this one employs acrylics in gold, copper, and a range of browns. As the book opens, the theater curtains part to reveal a girl singing in a window, framed in light. The title page is a concert program. The foreshadowing, tightly controlled recapitulation of themes, and stylized scenes (frequently incorporating stages) combine to suggest a performance. Linguistically and aesthetically, the book is a marvel of unified design. A trip to the Metropolitan Opera inspires young Anderson to strive for the dream she obtains by the end of the book. Early on, her master teacher enthuses that she "will be able to go anywhere and sing for anybody." The irony is played out as she tours Europe, but is stopped short in DC's Constitution Hall. Enter the Roosevelts, and what follows is history. When Marian sings, her eyes are always closed, her face a study of faith deeply felt. Hymns and spirituals punctuate the narrative, carefully chosen to tie into plot. Share this feast for the eyes and the soul with a wide audience.--School Library Journal, November 1st, 2002, starred review

Although this picture-book biography of the acclaimed American contralto doesn't play as fast and loose with the facts as did Ryan and Selznick's similarly formatted (and similarly lavish) Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride, it does indulge in a similar mythification. Marian Ander-son's first European tour was not the unqualified success this book would have it; her audition with maestro Giuseppe Boghetti was not the dramatic scena depicted here; her career was built as much on Bach and Brahms as it was on spirituals, whose verses are sometimes employed awkwardly here to convey Anderson's state of mind at various pivotal moments. And oddly, the keynote of the Anderson myth-being kept out of Constitution Hall by the D.A.R.-is here muted, the Daughters unnamed until the author's supplemental note. But while Anderson herself was a modest woman, her career was big and glamorous, and significant in both musical and social terms, and Ryan and Selznick get all this right. The large double-page spreads are impressive in sweep and scale but keep their humanity by using a limited palette re-creating the tones of old sepia photographs; judicious sky-blue accents keep the sun shining. Some of the portraits of Anderson recall famous photos of the singer, and throughout both the pictures and text there's an intimacy of tone that gives life to the legend.--Horn Book, November 1st, 2002

The creative team behind Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride returns with a picture book biography as understated and graceful as its subject, singer Marian Anderson (1897-1993). Tracing the African-American diva from her beginnings as an eight-year-old church choir wonder ("the pride of South Philadelphia") through years of struggle to rise above the racism that would delay her debut with the Metropolitan Opera until she was 57, this book masterfully distills the events in the life of an extraordinary musician. Ryan's narrative smoothly integrates biographical details with lyrics from the gospel songs Anderson made famous: a passage about the budding singer's longing to perform onstage ("Opera was simply the sun and the moon--a dream that seemed too far away to reach") segues to "He's got the sun and the moon right in His hands"; "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child..." follows a 213 spread of the singer on the bow of a ship bound for Europe, the sun creating a halo effect. Working with a sepia-toned palette, Selznick's paintings shimmer with emotion, his range of shading as versatile as Anderson's three-octave voice. Whether depicting her as barely visible be

Children's Literature
A moving portrait of Marian Anderson, this book is a beautiful marriage of text and illustrations. We follow Marian from her childhood, singing in church, through her rejection from a music school that refused to take "colored" to her glowing success despite the challenges of racism and prejudice. The text invites us into her life, and we ache with Marian every time she faces a struggle. Lyrics from songs Marian recorded are interspersed throughout¾they are perfectly placed so they advance the story, justifying the title page description of the text as a "libretto." For example, as she sails to Europe to escape the restrictions of America and to learn foreign languages to expand her repertoire, the words "sometimes I feel like a motherless child... a long ways from home" are printed over a luminous seascape. The evocative illustrations are done entirely in shades of brown, akin to sepia-tone photographs. The author and illustrator previously collaborated on the award winning Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride, and according to their notes in the back, a connection between Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson helped inspire this book. May such inspiration continue to arise. Judy Rowen
School Library Journal
In extensive endnotes, Ryan and Selznick mention the many Eleanor Roosevelt stories they heard after publishing Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride (Scholastic, 1999). One fortuitous tale, concerning the First Lady and Marian Anderson, led to this companion book. Instead of the silver tones of the earlier title, this one employs acrylics in gold, copper, and a range of browns. As the book opens, the theater curtains part to reveal a girl singing in a window, framed in light. The title page is a concert program. The foreshadowing, tightly controlled recapitulation of themes, and stylized scenes (frequently incorporating stages) combine to suggest a performance. Linguistically and aesthetically, the book is a marvel of unified design. A trip to the Metropolitan Opera inspires young Anderson to strive for the dream she obtains by the end of the book. Early on, her master teacher enthuses that she "will be able to go anywhere and sing for anybody." The irony is played out as she tours Europe, but is stopped short in DC's Constitution Hall. Enter the Roosevelts, and what follows is history. When Marian sings, her eyes are always closed, her face a study of faith deeply felt. Hymns and spirituals punctuate the narrative, carefully chosen to tie into plot. Share this feast for the eyes and the soul with a wide audience.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ryan and Selznick (Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride, 1999, etc.) reunite for another magical collaboration, this time presenting Marian Anderson to a young audience. Using the visual metaphor of an operatic presentation, the production opens on the Metropolitan Opera stage just before performance, followed by a spread in which the audience watches as the curtain rises and a street scene reveals a tiny figure singing in a brightly-lit window. The shape of the volume lends itself to the broad sweep of the stage and even the title page reads like the show's program. Anderson's story is perhaps not well known to younger children, but Ryan does a good job of making it accessible. In simply stated prose she acquaints young readers, who may be disbelieving, with a time of social injustice when a person of color could not pursue a professional career in concert music and it was an act of personal courage to sing before racially mixed audiences. Verses of Anderson's most famous songs are included as they have meaningful application for events. The account includes the most notable episode in her life when, denied access to Washington's Constitution Hall because of her race, Marian sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before a crowd of thousands-black and white. Selznick's carefully researched, sepia-toned, acrylic illustrations dramatize Anderson's strong, handsome face on most pages. That face is faithfully and powerfully rendered, eyes closed when singing, with an intense, almost sublime engagement in her music. The work culminates with another history-making moment when she realizes her dream and becomes the first African-American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Selznick depicts herin this spread standing triumphantly in the spotlight, a vivid spot of color in an otherwise monochromatic treatment. A lengthy "encore" includes personal details and history from both author and illustrator; an "ovation" cites resources. Perfectly paced and perfectly pitched, this never loses sight of the fact that Marian Anderson was both a world-class musician and a powerful symbol to her people. A bravura performance. (notable dates, discography)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439269674
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 209,176
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 12.36 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author


Pam Munoz Ryan is the recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature. She has written more than thirty books which have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. Pam lives near San Diego. You can visit her at www.pammunozryan.com.

In addition to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick is the illustrator of the Caldecott Honor winner, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, and The New York Times Best Illustrated Walt Whitman: Words for America, both by Barbara Kerley, as well as the Sibert Honor Winner When Marian Sang, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and numerous other celebrated picture books and novels. Brian has also worked as a set designer and a puppeteer. When he isn’t traveling to promote his work all over the world, he lives in San Diego, California, and Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 26, 2012

    A touching story which should the difficulties of race and histo

    A touching story which should the difficulties of race and history. This book is a great introduction to history and social issues. It would be the perfect starter for discussions of race and social issues in American History. The book is kept lively by the charm used by the author whom penned this story of a girl finding her dream despite obstacles. A truly inspirational book that is a must share for young readers. This book offers a glimpse into the civil rights issue before the movement began. While offering insight to the history of segregation it also offers a glimer of hope amongst the dark subject. The ability of one to work hard and in the end have the dream will truely capture the imagination of young readers.

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  • Posted May 28, 2012

    A wonderful story about someone doing something they love with e

    A wonderful story about someone doing something they love with every part of your being. When Marian Sang is a story about a girl singing from the soul and pursing a life in singing no matter what they say. It is a wonderful story and the pictures are just beautiful. This is a story that everyone should read.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    A beautiful voice!

    My personal favorite thing about this book besides the illustrations was the way that the author told some parts of the story through song lyrics. This book lets us into the life of a singer, but a singer who was african american and lived in the Great Depression. I would recommend this book to older children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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