When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson, the Voice of a Century by Pam Munoz Ryan, Illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic Press, 2002, 40pp.)
A beautifully illustrated biography of Marian Anderson, an African-American singer from Philadelphia. Inspired to study opera after seeing a performance of Madama Butterfly, Anderson was a prodigal student who found her journey repeatedly blocked by racial barriers. The most powerful scene in the book depicts her 1939 performance at the Lincoln Memorial: Marian stands in the far distance, while a mixed race audience sits together listening in the forefront. The author quotes lyrics from Anderson’s songs to accompany Selnick’s acrylic sepia-toned paintings, which makes for a fine, poetic picture book. Recommended for Ages 4-8.
Click on cover for image source.