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When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson Hardcover – October 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780439269674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439269674
  • ASIN: 0439269679
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 12.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

As this skilled duo did with Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Brian Selznick bring to life the story of yet another remarkable American woman, gifted black contralto Marian Anderson.

Undoubtedly one of America's greatest singers, Anderson was hardly known in her own country because of her race--music schools ignored her applications ("We don't take colored!") and even after she began singing professionally, many venues only featured white performers. Ryan's well-paced story becomes especially poignant as she recounts Anderson's overwhelming success in Europe ("one newspaper in Sweden called it 'Marian Fever' ... In Austria, the world-famous conductor Arturo Toscanini announced that what he had heard, one was privileged to hear only once in a hundred years"). The book reaches its climax with a wordless, deep brown two-page spread from Selznick, a crowd's-eye view of Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, an historic concert that drew an integrated audience of over 75,000.

Ryan's simple, metered text (punctuated frequently by lyrics) captures the quiet drama of Anderson's story, and kids will especially identify with the confusion and frustration of young Marian. And as with the pair's previous collaboration, Selznick's rich illustrations ably convey the undeniable strength and courage of a talented, determined woman. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

This book is great for a classroom or for a child's home collection.
Elizabeth Colpean
Emotions are clearly conveyed and emphasized on the characters faces throughout Selznick's illustrations.
cdc_219
Pam Munoz Ryan and Brian Selznick have done an excellent job in telling the story of Marian Anderson.
TheRAWKidzReview

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed the book When Marian Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Biran Selznick. I think it should have won the Caldecott 2003 award. It is a very good biography! The book is so detailed. It is a book for an older child. It has a great plot and is a true story. It is about an African-American woman who has a beautiful voice, but doesn't get a fair chance to show off her talent because she is a different race. It is a wonderful biography. The book tells the story first, and then in the back it states the facts. It is easier to understand what happened without all the dates tossed into the main story. It is a great biography for children to start understanding how to read a biography. I loved the book When Marian Sang!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Ernst on July 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When this book first came out, I was ecstatic that someone took the time to make the life of Marian Anderson accessible to children. Too often classical singers of the Civil Rights era are overlooked and forgotten. The combination of the gorgeous illustrations and lovely text make this book exceptional. Although not the easiest book for children to read on their own, as a read-aloud in a classroom setting, it can make an incredible impact. It is an excellent book to incite discussion on many subjects and it truly inspires children to pursue their dreams despite the troubles they may face.
The timeless lyrics interwoven within the story comment wonderfully on Marian's life and the perseverance with which she dealt with her struggles. The beauty of this book is that it focuses on the accomplishments of her life and the overcoming of disappointments, not the actual disappointments themselves. This lack of sensationalism gives the book dignity. This is definitely one book that I will treasure and hope to share many times over with students in my own classroom.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TheRAWKidzReview on June 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
WHEN MARIAN SANG beautifully depicts the life of Marian Anderson, a wonderful singer who broke racial barriers to become one of the most world-renowned performers. The story tells of her humble upbringing in Philadelphia and the support she garnered from her family, her church, and her community. It also tells of the discrimination that Marian faced when trying to learn music and later when she attempted to perform. Yet, Marian persevered. She went to Europe where she received so much attention and acclaim that it was said the people suffered from "Marian Fever." She later returned to the United States, and fought prejudices and discrimination by performing at the Lincoln Memorial. She was finally able to break down racial barriers and perform at the Metropolitan Opera. At last, Marian felt free to sing.
WHEN MARIAN SANG is an inspirational and educational biography of a great performer. The book gives details in a poignant, yet simplistic way that people of all ages will be able to appreciate. The illustrations are truly breathtaking. I enjoyed the fact that verses of songs that Marian sang were intertwined within the text to add depth to the story. I was also impressed with the detailed information about Marian's life and the fact that her discography was included in the back of the book. Pam Munoz Ryan and Brian Selznick have done an excellent job in telling the story of Marian Anderson. I look forward to future works from this dynamic duo.
Reviewed by Latoya Carter-Qawiyy
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Melanie on November 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is undoubtedly one of the best books that I have ever read for my class. It teaches people, both young and old, a little piece of our American history including the Great Depression and segregation. With it, the tandum of Ryan and Selznick provide a general overview of history realia. Overall, this piece is a great resources to read for all people.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A little black girl named Marian Anderson loved to sing . She would sing to her baby doll everyday. Every Sunday she would go to church and sing with her sister. She and her family were very proud. She grew into her teens and still loved to sing. People say when Marian sang she would sing with her eyes closed ,as finding the music within. As marian sang her heart filled with tragedy and sometimes her songs.
Marian was a full grown adult and Marians parents past away She was sad but still sang.
She went to a music school and she patiently in line for an application. The girl behind the counter helped everyone else but Marian. The lady didn't let her have an application because she was colored. She grew older and married a fine man who respected her singing. She went to a master singer and he loved her singing so she sang and sang till the end of her days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Book Nosher on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a big, beautiful picture book biography about the legendary singer Marian Anderson. It tells the story of the little girl with the "strong and velvety" voice who rose to become one of the most decorated and honored singers in the world, while racism and segregation formed the backdrop to her life.

Marian Anderson was born in 1897 in South Philadelphia. Her musical talents were recognized early on and she performed in local churches, and then in Philadelphia's celebrated People's Chorus. Music meant everything to Marian, and she was determined to go to music school. At eighteen, she applied but was told, "We don't take colored" from the receptionist at the front desk. So she continued to work hard on her own, taking lessons where she could to improve her skills.

Finally in 1927, she decided to go to Europe where other African Americans had gone. Here she discovered success. Europe was much more progressive than the United States. She was able to sing to mixed audiences and travel without all of the restrictions she had previously faced. She had amazing success overseas, and was beloved wherever she toured.

However, when she returned to the U.S. in 1939, she discovered that things hadn't really changed. The book then tells the remarkable story of how she came to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday. After being denied access to Constitution Hall, people like Eleanor Roosevelt and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes took a stand for Marian in a time of deep racial segregation. Permission was eventually given for her to perform at the Lincoln Memorial, and when she sang on that Easter Sunday, it was to 75,000 people of all races.

When Marian Sang is a powerful book to read to elementary school-aged kids.
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More About the Author

PAM Muñoz Ryan is the author of more that thirty books for young readers, including four beloved novels, Riding Freedom, Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi León, and Paint the Wind, which collectively have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpré Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. She lives in Southern California with her family. You can visit her at www.PamMunozRyan.com.



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When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson
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