Cover image for Coretta Scott
Coretta Scott
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Katherine Tegen Books, c2009.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 32 cm.
Added Author:
This extraordinary union of poetry and monumental artwork captures the movement for civil rights in the United States, and honors it most elegant inspiration, Coretta Scott.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 KING 1 1
Book J 921 KING 1 1
Book J 921 KING 0 1
Book E 921 KING 1 1

On Order



Celebrated poet and playwright Ntozake Shange captures the spirit of civil rights pioneer Coretta Scott King--illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Kadir Nelson. This nonfiction picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 6 to 8. It's a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children.

Walking many miles to school in the dusty road, young Coretta Scott knew the unfairness of life in the segregated south. A yearning for equality began to grow. Together with Martin Luther King, Jr., she gave birth to a vision of change through nonviolent protest. It was the beginning of a journey--with dreams of freedom for all.

Author Notes

Ntozake Shange was born Paulette Linda Williams in Trenton, New Jersey on October 18, 1948. She received a bachelor's degree from Barnard College in 1970 and a master's degree in American studies from the University of Southern California in 1973. She adopted her African name while in graduate school.

She wrote 15 plays, 19 collections of poetry, six novels, five children's books, and three essay collections. Her choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, opened on Broadway in 1976 and received an Obie Award. She also received an Obie in 1981 for her adaptation of Bertold Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. Her trilogy, Three Pieces, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry in 1981. She died on October 27, 2018 at the age of 70.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Nelson's (We Are the Ship) jacket portrait of Coretta Scott, monumental and tender at the same time, sets the tone for this intimate picture biography. The artist's full-bleed paintings, powerfully molded and saturated with color, depict crucial moments in Scott's life: the morning when a "white school bus/ left a/ funnel of dust" in Coretta's face as she walked five miles to school; her marriage to Martin Luther King Jr., "two minds attracted in prayer," their faces joined in double profile; the March on Washington, a mass of humanity around the Washington Monument, viewed from the air. Shange's (For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow Is Enuf) rhythmic lines and formal syntax roll like waves-"over years/ learning and freedom/ took hold of Coretta's soul/ till she knew in her being/ that the Good Lord intended freedom/ for the Negro"-carrying readers on a soul-stirring ride through Coretta's coming of age in the Civil Rights movement and her time as King's partner in it. "Singin' always singin'," Shange ends; Nelson shows the couple at the head of a line of marchers, and then, on the final page, in tight close-up, their faces patient and strong. Ages 4-9. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Shange's spare, poetic text sketches the life of Coretta Scott King. The story begins with her childhood, when she had to walk five miles each way to school, then moves to her leadership role as partner to Martin Luther King Jr. in life and within the civil rights movement. Nelson's gorgeous oil paintings capture the essence of the woman and her times. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Unflinching verse and elegant imagery combine in a powerful, evocative, picture-book portrait of Coretta Scott King. As stated on the cover, Shange uses poetry to recount Coretta Scott's life, from her childhood to her marriage with Martin Luther King, Jr. On the final page, the author offers a linear, prose biography, adding context to her more abstract references in the poetry. Omitting punctuation and capitalization, Shange assembles her simple words into a whole that reflects both the facts of Scott's story and her humanity. Nelson's accompanying paintings are luminous and reverent, and as much as they recall his distinct style in books such as Carole Boston Weatherford's Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (2006), there is something of Norman Rockwell here, too, in the straightforward compositions and profound dignity of the American spirit on display. Concise back matter notwithstanding, this is not a biography of fact and reporting. Instead, poet and painter have joined forces to offer an indelible, emotional expression of the strength, beauty, and joy of one woman's character.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2009 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-9-Poetic language paired with powerful images makes this biography/history of the Civil Rights Movement a moving, provocative read-aloud. Young Coretta and her siblings solemnly "walked all/of five miles to/the nearest colored school/in the darkness/with the dew dampening/their feet." A close-up of the stoic children as the "white school bus/left a/funnel of dust/on their faces" reveals the hurt they already knew. The peaceful, prayerful profiles of Coretta and Martin juxtaposed against a stained-glass church window provide a soothing contrast-"they prayed together/found joy/and were married." Later came the sit-ins and the marches; "hundreds then thousands/white and black/marched/in Alabama/Carolina/Georgia/and Chicago." Until "a quarter of a million at the March on Washington/peacefully singing `we shall overcome'/and listening to the words/that would inspire a nation." A bird's-eye view of the crowd looks like a garden of flowers surrounding the Reflecting Pool. Yet, despite the song and solidarity, "things nature never intended/a child to see/haunted them.." The book ends with several spreads of marchers and singers accompanied by an excerpt from the traditional gospel song "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round." Nelson's stirring oil paintings on plywood are all full-spread with large, easy-to-share images. An author's note provides a summary of the subject's life and of the Civil Rights Movement, though there are no credits or references to the songs. Every library will want copies of this lyrical tribute to an elegant woman and the era she represents.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

There have been many books written about Martin Luther King Jr., but precious few about Coretta Scott King. Now the poet and painter who previously collaborated on Ellington Was Not a Street (2004) join again for a heartfelt homage that is more adulation than book-report biography. Shange strikes an emotional chord in her recitative about Scott King's youth in the time of Jim Crow, seeking inspiration from the words of a spiritual, finding a soul mate in a young divinity student and joining him on marches and protests. However, the true power of this title lies in Nelson's full-page portraits, which convey determination, fear, serenity and weariness. Words can describe segregation and marching for freedom; the images of a young Coretta and her siblings walking miles to their school or of four college students sitting in at a lunch counter speak rivers. A double-page spread of freedom marchers carrying American flags silhouetted against a yellow sky will resonate with children and linger in their minds. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.