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Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Published by Scholastic Press, 2018
127 pages
ISBN: 978-0-545-70253-9

Age 9 and older

In early April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., returned to Memphis to stand again with striking sanitation workers. Fevered and tired, he wanted to skip the April 3 evening rally at Mason Temple, but went and roused the crowd with his oratory and his faith in the path of nonviolence and the promise of the future he knew he may not live to see. Late afternoon April 4, he participated in a gleeful pillow fight in his room at the Lorraine Motel before dressing for dinner. These and other moments illuminated in poems detailing King’s life, and especially his final days, his death, and the grief that followed, are full of poignancy, power, and tension. Divided into three sections—Daylight, Darkness, Dawn—the poems’ language and cadence don’t just invite but almost insist on being spoken aloud. Impeccably researched and documented, the poems, paired with expressive mixed-media illustrations, conclude with a brief photo essay about the Memphis strike and King’s assassination, along with a timeline, sources, and an essential author’s note. “Can a dream ever die? / A burst of sun replies: / His life well lived for peace and good, / Martin’s spirit—still alive! / And with love, / we all shall rise.” The pain of King’s loss feels immediate and shocking, the hope of his legacy lasting. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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