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Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America (Coretta Scott King Award - Author Winner Title(s)) Hardcover – October 23, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In her extensive introduction, Pinkney explains how a visit to a creative-writing program made up of young black teens—“Brother Authors”—inspired her to write a testament to positive African American role models. She has chosen 10 men, and though each appears in his own extensive chapter, their accomplishments weave them together “like a chain.” Some are well known, like Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson, and Malcolm X. Others, such as Benjamin Banneker, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Thurgood Marshall, may be less familiar to today’s young people. Pinkney uses an upbeat, sometimes colloquial writing style that kids will appreciate, and with chapters sometimes as long as 20 pages, there is often more information about a subject than might be found in a slim series title. Each chapter begins with an original poem and a Brian Pinkney portrait. Another two or three small pictures break up the long pages of text. Surprisingly, Pinkney provides no notes, even though she references both feelings and words in her biographies. For instance, she quotes Barack Obama’s Kenyan grandfather and his unhappiness over his son’s marriage to Ann Dunham without any sourcing. While this is problematic, the book is still a handsome piece of bookmaking that does Pinkney’s premise proud. Grades 5-8. --Ilene Cooper

Review

Presenting ten biographical vignettes in chronological order-Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack H. Obama II-the Pinkneys create a testament to African American males that, taken together, tells one big story of triumph (a story that, incidentally, spans American history). Each profile, fifteen to thirty pages long, includes an introductory poem, a watercolor portrait, and spot illustrations. Brian Pinkney's illustrations are a perfect marriage of line, color, and medium and complement Andrea Pinkney's colloquial and ebullient text. "Benjamin Banneker was born under a lucky star. Came into this world a freeborn child, a blessing bestowed on few of his hue." Each profile is compact yet comprehensive, but since virtually all of these men were eloquent writers and speakers, it's mildly disappointing that more of their own words didn't find their way into the text. Still, this is an impressive accomplishment, and a worthy companion to Kadir Nelson's Heart and Soul (rev. 11/11). Sources, further reading, a timeline, and an index are appended. jonathan hunt—Horn Book

5Q 3P M J S In Hand in Hand, Pinkney presents profiles of ten very different African American men who have had a profound impact on American society and culture. She outlines the backgrounds and achievements of each man in ten chapters, complete with beautiful illustrations by Brian Pinkney and descriptive poetry to introduce each chapter. We learn about astronomer Benjamin Banneker, who corresponded frequently with Thomas Jefferson, arguing his case against slavery and the unfair treatment of black people. We are given a peek into W. E. B. Dubois's struggle to be accepted as a black man into the prestigious Harvard University and go on to form the NAACP. We gain insight into Barack Obama's roots as the son of a black man and white woman. Pinkney does an exceptional job of detailing the lives of minorities who struggled to be accepted in American society and succeeded in making a difference for minorities everywhere. She describes in the introduction how she selected the people to write about and that she kept it down to just ten so she could provide the reader with sufficient information and background. She begins each chapter with a description of the person's childhood and how he or she was raised. Writing the chapters this way provides a nice segue from each person's struggles to their eventual successes. Brian Pinkney's illustrations are beautifully rendered and add color and whimsy to a wonderful historical tribute. This is a must-have for every library and classroom.-Lindsay Grattan.—VOYA

In her extensive introduction, Pinkney explains how a visit to a creative-writing program made up of young black teens-"Brother Authors"-inspired her to write a testament to positive African American role models. She has chosen 10 men, and though each appears in his own extensive chapter, their accomplishments weave them together "like a chain." Some are well known, like Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson, and Malcolm X. Others, such as Benjamin Banneker, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Thurgood Marshall, may be less familiar to today's young people. Pinkney uses an upbeat, sometimes colloquial writing style that kids will appreciate, and with chapters sometimes as long as 20 pages, there is often more information about a subject than might be found in a slim series title. Each chapter begins with an original poem and a Brian Pinkney portrait. Another two or three small pictures break up the long pages of text. Surprisingly, Pinkney provides no notes, even though she references both feelings and words in her biographies. For instance, she quotes Barack Obama's Kenyan grandfather and his unhappiness over his son's marriage to Ann Dunham without any sourcing. While this is problematic, the book is still a handsome piece of bookmaking that does Pinkney's premise proud.- Ilene Cooper—Booklist Online

Ten influential black men-including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King Jr.-are profiled in this husband-and-wife team's vibrant collaboration. Andrea Davis Pinkney introduces her subjects with powerful poems, before moving into image-rich, introspective, and candid descriptions of each man's influence on civil rights, culture, art, or politics: "[Malcolm X] thought carefully about some of the beliefs he'd held in the past, and how they supported the idea that he'd been brainwashed by whites. For example, straightening his hair was Malcolm's attempt to deny his black heritage by trying to look more white.' " Brian Pinkney's portraits of each man echo the multidimensional prose with their bold strokes and dynamic swirls of color. An examination of Barack Obama's life and presidential election carries readers into the present day, placing the achievements of those who came before him into perspective. Though the text-heavy format may initially daunt some readers, the inviting narrative voice and eloquent portrayal of these iconic men and the times in which they lived make for memorable reading. Ages 9 12.—PW

Addressing the appetites of readers "hungry for role models," this presents compellingly oratorical pictures of the lives and characters of 10 African-American men who exemplify a "birthright of excellence." Each of the chronologically arranged chapters opens with a tone-setting praise song and a commanding close-up portrait. From Benjamin Banneker, whose accusatory letter to slaveholder Thomas Jefferson "socked it straight / to the secretary of state," to Barack Obama, who "turned Yes, we can! into a celebration call," the gallery is composed of familiar names. Instead of rehashing well-chewed biographical fodder, though, the author dishes up incidents that shaped and tested her subjects' moral and intellectual fiber along with achievements that make her chosen few worth knowing and emulating. Carping critics may quibble about the occasional arguable fact and an implication that Rosa Parks' protest was spontaneous, but like Malcolm X, Pinkney has such "a hot-buttered way with words" that her arguments are as convincing as they are forceful, and her prose, rich as it is in rolling cadences and internal rhymes, never waxes mannered or preachy. A feast for readers whose eyes are (or should be) on the prize, in a volume as well-turned-out as the dapper W.E.B. Dubois, who was "more handsome than a fresh-cut paycheck." (timeline, index, lists of recommended reading and viewing) (Collective biography. 10-15)—Kirkus
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Series: Coretta Scott King Award - Author Winner Title(s)
  • Hardcover: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; First Edition edition (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423142578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423142577
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #470,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jamie on January 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The stories of extraordinary persons are always fascinating. However, not every writer can capture what it is, the passions, and the vision, that drives these individuals in 45 pages or less. Andrea Davis Pinkney is able to do just that. These are stories that a teacher could read aloud to a classroom, stories that parents can read to children, stories that many children can read to themselves and come away having learned about and been encouraged by the lives shared in this book.
A book as the author explains in the Preface that was inspired by an inspiring group of young black writers. These writers who called themselves "the Brother Authors", had preamble. Toward the end of their preamble they recited this line in regards to anything they wrote: "This we agree to, with a steadfast commitment to the ideals of justice, compassion, and a better humanity for all. To this end, we write!"
I think the passions and visions shared in this book will encourage young people to live lives that are passionate toward justice, compassion, and a better humanity for all. If it allows them to see this possibility and to appreciate the dedication that others had toward this end, that to, is a very positive outcome of having read the stories or some of the stories contained in this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kat McQueen on February 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is highly readable and very informative. I loved the relaxed, conversational style, and particularly enjoyed hearing the whole history of each person from childhood on. Pinkney's revealing perspective made it easy to see how each man was transformed into the leader he became--and why each person's contribution was unique. The illustrations are extraordinary--so much more powerful than, say, photos might have been. We can hope Pinkney will do a parallel book on women.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K Lang on March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gorgeous book. I originally purchased because as an educator this is the type of book that we want students reading as we move to Common Core State Standards. As a parent, this is the type of book that I want my African-American son to read and see the beautiful history that frames his future as a leader.

Great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Krystal on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is fascinating with the stories of ten men who made a influence in American history. The book is encouraging, inspiring, and motivational when we read about their life's struggles, their accomplishments, and determination to make a difference. Some may view as a book through time from slavery to the 21st century but is a definite must read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary B. Young on March 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the recommendation of an Afr. Am. friend. The pictures are memorable. The information about each man includes things I had not known. I gave the book to a 5th grade class during Afr. Am. History Month.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on May 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent Book,, especially for those unfamiliar with the work and efforts of these ten men. A good book especially for those born the late 1960"s or later.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Reed on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gave me an insight about African-American history that is not told in schools. This book should also be included in schools' curriculums. These Black men that are highlighted are role models of the past and present. It is an easy read and would make you proud as an African-American.
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