When Marian sang The true recital of Marian Anderson : the voice of a century

Pam Muñoz Ryan

Book - 2002

An introduction to the life of Marian Anderson, extraordinary singer and civil rights activist, who was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, whose life and career encouraged social change.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Scholastic Press 2002.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
ISBN
0439269679
Main Author
Pam Muñoz Ryan (-)
Other Authors
Brian Selznick (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

/*Starred Review*/ K-Gr. 3. In a lush, operatic style that suits the subject, this large-sized picture-book biography of the great vocalist Marian Anderson captures the story of her triumph in the face of the vicious segregation of her time. The passionate words and beautifully detailed sepia-tone pictures select moments from her life to present a true story that seems like a theatrical Cinderella tale. The extraordinarily gifted child is denied access to music school ("We don't take colored!"), but she is nurtured by home and church and becomes a star. When she returns from wild acclaim abroad, however, she's refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall, where "white performers only" is the rule. The narrative is sometimes overblown, with just too much about Marian's "examining her heart" and feeling sick in her stomach. But the interweaving of the spirituals Anderson sang, which express her trouble and her strength, is exceptionally moving. Selznick's stirring pictures convey the personal and political drama in both the performance scenes and the close-up portraits, and the climactic picture is unforgettable: children see Anderson's concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 from the perspective of the huge mixed audience. A lengthy, detailed afterword, in small type; a discography; and a bibliography (including mention of Anderson's autobiography) are provided for older students who want to know more. ((Reviewed November 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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 2/3 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 beyond the crowds at her famous 1939 concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or in a final scene of her stepping into the spotlight at the Met, the images are striking and memorable (particularly the soulful face of Marian herself as she matures from child to woman). The author's and artist's notes, timeline and discography round out this stellar effort. Ages 6-10. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 5-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.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Interspersed with the spiritual songs she sang and including lengthy author's notes, this picture book traces Marian Anderson's history-making career. Add Ryan's Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride (Scholastic, 1999. ISBN 0-590-96075-X) to bring three exceptional women to the classroom. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An introduction to the life of Marian Anderson, extraordinary singer and civil rights activist, who was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, whose life and career encouraged social change.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Introduces Marian Anderson, an extraordinary singer and civil rights activist, who was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera and whose life and career encouraged social change.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A harmonious introduction to one of our country's most important singers and role models--as envisioned by Newbery Honoree Pam Muñoz Ryan and Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick.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, and 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, and Selznick's pictures as exquisitely detailed and elaborately designed as a stage set. What emerges most profoundly from their shared vision is a role model of courage.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

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.