Monday, June 11, 2018

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by the Pinkneys - ESSENTIAL

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea and Brian Pinkney, 121 pages.  Scholastic Press, 2018. $15.  

Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (mild description of riots and MLK's assassination)


This beautiful book of poems details the last months and days of Martin Luther King Jr’s life. It is divided into three sections called “Daylight,” “Darkness,” and “Dawn.” The first few poems are about this great leader’s birth, family, and potential, including a metaphorical bird named Henny Penny which is explained in the author’s reflections at the end. The poems in “Darkness” highlight Martin’s struggles with fear and the burden of leadership. The poems at the end of this section depict his last days and moments, then the mourning after the world’s great loss. “Dawn” features Coretta and other great leaders of the movement continuing on in Martin’s spirit.

The poetry and images in this book were breathtaking.  Use of alliteration, repetition, and pieces of King’s speeches make these poems come to life beautifully. I learned a lot about Martin’s last days and seeing more of his humanity made me respect this great man so much more and once again mourn his loss. This book is a perfect addition to any middle school or high school classroom and library. Some poems could be read aloud to elementary students. It would work best as curriculum, but many older teens may choose to read it own their own as well. It is very well researched. It connects the weather and words from his speeches with his impending death in such a way as to see him as a true visionary who bravely saw his own death approaching and chose to march on.

Reviewer: Stacee S., Reading Teacher

No comments: