Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
When Marian Sang

When Marian Sang

Fall 2002 Picture Books
Ages: 6 - 10 yrs.
Author: Brian Selznick
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
ISBN: 0-439-26967-9
Paperback Price: $16.95
This handsome oversize book tells admirably the life-story of the celebrated black singer Marian Anderson (1897-1993). Author Ryan manages to cover the highlights of Anderson's long career in a spare and sober text that never lapses into kiddy talk but treats the book's heroine and its audience - children - with the respect they deserve. Anderson forged her remarkable career at a time when segregation of the races was taken for granted in the United States. At the age of 18, the singer was denied admission to a prestigious music school in her native Philadelphia because she was "colored." And most adults know the dramatic story of how Anderson, despite her growing reputation here and abroad, was denied the use of Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. because of its policy of "white performers only." Thanks to the intervention of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, Anderson was invited to sing that 1939 concert from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In 1955, at the age of 58, she finally achieved her life's dream: to sing with The Metropolitan Opera. No Black singer before her had ever done so. Artist Brian Selznick's large, sepia-toned pictures project a near-photographic authenticity, giving the listener/viewer the sense of being right there with Marian.. This is the most beautiful and worthwhile picture book to come down the pike in a long while. Don't miss it!
Selma G. Lanes   ©2002 Parents' Choice

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