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Cover image for Hand in hand : ten Black men who changed America
Hand in hand : ten Black men who changed America
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Disney/Jump at the Sun, c2012.
Physical Description:
243 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm.
Benjamin Banneker : Surveyor of the Sky -- Frederick Douglass : Capital Orator -- Booker T. Washington : Polished Pioneer -- W.E.B. DuBois : Erudite Educator -- A. Philip Randolph : Always Striding Ahead -- Thurgood Marshall : Mr. Civil Rights -- Jackie Robinson : Game-Changer -- Malcolm X : Spark-Light -- Martin Luther King, Jr. : Nonviolent Visionary -- Barack H. Obama, Jr. : Holding on to Hope -- Timeline.
Added Author:
Presents the stories of ten African-American men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day.


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Book J 920 PIN 1 1
Book J 920 PIN 1 1
Book J 920 PIN 1 1
Book J 920 PIN 1 1
Book J 920 PIN 1 1
Book J 920 PIN 1 1
Book J 920 PIN 1 1

On Order



HAND IN HAND presents the stories of ten men from different eras in American history, organized chronologically to provide a scope from slavery to the modern day. The stories are accessible, fully-drawn narratives offering the subjects' childhood influences, the time and place in which they lived, their accomplishments and motivations, and the legacies they left for future generations as links in the "freedom chain." This book will be the definitive family volume on the subject, punctuated with dynamic full color portraits and spot illustrations by two-time Caldecott Honor winner and multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award recipient Brian Pinkney. Backmatter includes a civil rights timeline, sources, and further reading.

Benjamin Banneker
Frederick Douglass
Booker T. Washington
W.E.B. DuBois
A. Philip Randolph
Thurgood Marshall
Jackie Robinson
Malcolm X
Martin Luther King, Jr
Barack H. Obama II

Author Notes

Andrea Davis Pinkney has written several acclaimed books for middle grade readers, including the novels Bird in a Box, a Today Show Al Roker Book Club pick, and With the Might of Angels , a book in the Dear America series. She is also the author of the nonfiction book Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters , a Coretta Scott King Author Honor winner. Andrea's many picture books include Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down , a New York Times best-seller and a Jane Addams Honor Book, which was illustrated by her husband, Brian Pinkney. She and her family live in Brooklyn, New York.

Brian Pinkney ( has frequently collaborated with his wife, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Some of their other books include, Sojourner Truth's Step-Stomp Stride , Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation , and Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra , for which Brian was awarded a Caldecott Honor. Brian was also a Caldecott Honoree for The Faithful Friend by Robert D. San Souci , and he won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for In the Time of the Drums by Kim L.Siegelson.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

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.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

BEFORE I picked up "Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America," I moderated a panel called "When Work Disappears," comprising an interracial group of lawyers, economists and a journalist turned television producer. And on the whole, the opinions and evidence we shared left the audience, as well as myself, in a "slough of despond." Every aspect painted a bleak picture of African-Americans, including the tragic status of children living in poverty (38 percent); schools ill-equipped to meet students' most basic needs; the disproportionate numbers in prison, most on relatively minor charges; and a rate of unemployment double that of whites. In short: The American dream for African-Americans - especially young men - is for now and the foreseeable future an American nightmare. With this in mind, I read the preface to "Hand in Hand," which begins, in part, Gripped iron courage to withstand: Degradation Segregation Humiliation Hard frustration. The author, Andrea Davis Pinkney, who is also a poet, explains that what motivated her to write the book was not least her despair over "ignorant stereotyping of black males" and "the negative impact this has, especially on boys who are developing their self-image." "Even in its subtlest forms," she says, "this 'bad press' can stitch a corrosive thread into a kid's psyche and cause him to believe he is inferior or flawed. Once this belief is established, it can be hard to turn around." In her brief but uplifting accounts of 10 black men - Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, A. Philip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Barack Obama - Pinkney draws lessons aimed at unstitching that "corrosive thread." And she demonstrates in a variety of ways how black men with challenges as great as, if not greater than, those young black men face today beat the odds and used their talents to help others. Some, like Frederick Douglass, felt the lash of enslavers but refused to be "broken," becoming a powerful force to end slavery. Similarly, Booker T. Washington grew up in a slave cabin, eating leftover slop fed to pigs, and often went to sleep hungry. But when he was nearly 6 years old and made to carry the books of children of the white family his mother worked for, he lingered under the classroom window, taking in what was being taught from those books. "It was like a breeze on a hot-as-blazes day. Booker couldn't help but let it blow." It took a long time, but that breeze eventually carried Washington through school and to the Tuskegee Institute, one of the first colleges for African-Americans in the country. Pinkney also provides details of Thurgood Marshall's early years when he was a cutup in school; for punishment, he was often sent to the school basement, forced each time to learn a passage of the Constitution. Marshall eventually channeled that energy and accumulated knowledge into the fight for equality. He went on to become the driving force behind the Supreme Court's Brown decision in 1954 that paved the way for thousands of black children, including me, to get an education equal to that of whites. Martin Luther King is one of the few heroes most young people know from the civil rights movement. But Pinkney describes some of the lesser-known factors that helped shape his consciousness, including his being forced to travel 90 miles standing in a bus after giving up his seat to whites. It was through education that all 10 men not only survived but conquered. For many of them, however, education didn't always come in the traditional ways. Sometimes it was with the help of family, especially black mothers. For example, Banneker was born free, but had no formal schooling. His grandmother taught him to read the only book she owned, the Bible. "Benjamin learned everything from the begats to the Beatitudes. And by reciting all 150 psalms, Benjamin discovered he could count." He went on to "master the sky's mysteries," ultimately creating a widely heralded farmer's almanac "with everything that was essential to a farmer's success." At the other extreme, Pinkney profiles Detroit Red, a young criminal who used and sold drugs, stole from people and experienced the stink and isolation of a prison cell. But with positive mentors in and out of prison who stressed salvation, Detroit Red became Malcolm X, one of the country's most powerful voices for self-worth and black pride. The rest of the stories in this beautifully written book are equally fascinating, and the entire volume is movingly enhanced by poetry and by the inviting, creative illustrations of Brian Pinkney, the author's husband. Pinkney writes how difficult it was to choose the 10 men for this volume, and I wish she had included at least one of the younger giants of the civil rights movement, many of whom are unknown to today's generation but who were the movement's "shock troops." Still, "Hand in Hand" provides a light that could help guide men out of the darkness in which all too many are forced to live. "Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad," by Henry Cole, can be described as "a wordless Civil War story," designed to present youngsters with a moral choice. A slim volume of charcoal drawings, the book follows a white child living with her folks on a farm in what is clearly the Confederate South. Slaves are escaping their captivity via secret routes to the North. One day, as the protagonist is going about her chores, she is startled to hear noises in the corn crib and soon sees an eye peering at her through the stalks. She runs away, frightened. But eventually, confronted with the choice of turning in a runaway slave or helping him, she stealthily smuggles him food. Cole leaves the narrative to the imagination. What would you do if you had a chance to help a person find freedom? I'm not sure why the only black representation is an eye looking through a hole. But the author, a former teacher, clearly intended "Unspoken" to be a challenging book, its somber sepia tone drawings establishing a mood of foreboding. For younger readers, the book presumes adult guidance. "I Have a Dream" is one of Martin Luther King's most enduring speeches, made at the historic March on Washington in 1963. It was a march for jobs and freedom for black Americans, and Dr. King's eloquent speech took these causes to another level, as he appealed for justice, unity and brotherhood. In soft earth tones, but sometimes in larger-than-life depictions, the award-winning illustrator Kadir Nelson drives home the message for children of all ages. When Dr. King talks about the "dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," Nelson features on one of the pages two black boys in suits and ties, with similar warm facial expressions, followed on the next page by two appealing black girls in their Sunday school best. Another page shows black and white children in a ring-around-the-rosie scene to illustrate that one day "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." The book includes a DVD of King's speech and, for younger readers, will require adult context-setting and guidance. The book ends with a flock of doves at King's finale - "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" - driving home in a creative and accessible way the powerful message, and keeping it alive today. It endures as a refrain we need in our continuing struggle for freedom, justice equality. Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a former correspondent for CNN, NPR and PBS. Her most recent book is "To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement."

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-This book is similar in scope to the author's Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters (Harcourt, 2000. The subjects here include 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 Obama, all introduced in the author's characteristically lively prose ("Black students kept on keeping on with dog-eared textbooks and dog-tired feet"; Malcolm Little's hair was transformed from "pretty-boy cotton-kink to slick-daddy bone-straight"). The distinct experiences that shaped each man are ably delineated-the childhood events, the hardships faced, the richly deserved victories won-and the results are, without exception, compelling. The large font size is perfect for the middle-grade audience, but too many blocks of unbroken text may turn away less-confident readers. Thankfully, Brian Pinkney's magnificent portraits and spot art throughout each profile help to amplify each man's story. A must-have for all libraries serving young people.-Sam Bloom, Blue Ash Library, Cincinnati, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

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)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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