Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song

Pinkney, Brian (Illustrator)
Little, Brown 2013. 40 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780316070133 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 323
Book type: Non-Fiction
Book genre: Biography

Text Elements:

character, characterization, layout

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahalia Jackson are the two inspirational trailblazers featured in this illustrated biography. For both of them, their fight for justice and equality was anchored in their tremendous vocal gifts. Martin delivered powerful sermons; Mahalia’s voice was “brass and butter. Strong and smooth at the same time.” The story recounts how they joined forces to fight segregation during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and culminates in the March on Washington, where Martin delivered his now-famous dream speech.

Age-appropriate text simplifies a complex period in history and makes it accessible to a young audience. Emphasis is not on the fine historical details but rather on the content of their world-changing message: “This way to freedom. Follow these signs of the times: Change. Strength. Unity. Love.” Significant words appear in bold, coloured typeface.

Watercolour paintings in a bright, swirly palette capture the energy of Martin’s sermons and Mahalia’s powerful singing voice. The paintings give a visual resonance to their collaborative strength and symbolize the powerful relationship between words and music in the civil rights movement.

The book ends with author and illustrator notes as well as additional books to consult, a selected discography and a timeline.

  •  

    Listen to teacher-selected recordings of Mahalia Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Discuss your prior knowledge about them.

  •  

    As you read, use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast the lives of Mahalia and Martin.

  •  

    Notice the use of text in the illustrations. Discuss the importance of the words that were included in this way.

  •  

    What made Martin and Mahalia effective leaders? Find evidence in the text that explains why they were so influential.

  •  

    Listen to teacher-selected recordings of Mahalia Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Discuss your prior knowledge about them.

  •  Explore the timeline at the end of the book. What do you notice? Compare with the situation today.
  •  

    Explore the words in bold. Notice the use of text in the illustrations. Find their meanings and discuss their importance.

  •  

    As you read, use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast the lives of Mahalia and Martin.

  •  

    Discuss how their message, delivered 50 years ago, is still relevant today. Give examples.

  •  

    What do you know about Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahalia Jackson and the Jim Crow laws? In small teams, create three separate KWL charts and complete the first columns. Complete the second columns individually.

  •  

    What made Martin and Mahalia effective leaders? What is the meaning of the book’s subtitle? Use examples from the text to justify your answer. Enrich your answers through discussion with a peer, then complete the third column of your KWL charts.

  •  

    Research another leader you believe is having a positive impact on the world today. Design a poster (paper or digital) to inform your peers about this person. Include a timeline of significant events in his or her life as well as a song you think would complement the person’s message.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Music
  • Social Sciences