Friday, January 20, 2017

PBT Redux Series #7 - When Marian Sang

Today I feature a beautiful story about an important moment in American history. This book is the 7th in my PBT Redux series in which I again offer a gem from my previous postings. A treasure that no one should miss, this version of Marian Anderson's story offers much potential for ministry and conversation in homes and schools where spiritual values can be tied to important historical achievements.
Picture Book: When Marian Sang
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Illustrator: Brian Selznick
Summary: This is the true story of Marian Anderson’s rise to world-wide fame as an opera singer and civil rights symbol. It highlights the events leading to the historic 1939 concert at The Lincoln Memorial where 75,000 people witnessed a glorious act of civil rights. The Daughters of the American Revolution would not allow Anderson to sing in Constitution Hall, despite her success in Europe. Instead she sang My Country, 'Tis of Thee for the world at the feet of the author of the Emancipation Proclamation. The story begins with her childhood in which many are astonished by the 8-year-old's striking contralto voice. As she faces the segregation and prejudice of her time, her talent and determined passion shine through. The book ends, after the famous concert, as Marian realizes her dream of performing on the stage of The Metropolitan Opera. 
Hanna’s Comments: Although racial discrimination is an important part of this story, the book also highlights Marian Anderson's discovery, at an early age, of her God-given talent and her vocation. The author deftly explains the perseverance and courage necessary for Marian to succeed so early, at such a high level, and within a segregated United States. See the author's historical note in the back for more details. The story beautifully connects with the Parable of the Talents in the New Testament. I have written a lesson for elementary-aged children that does just that. Contact me at if you are interested in purchasing it for $4. A video demonstration of me reading this book to a group of children during Sunday school can be found at Other Resources by Hanna tab above.  
Original Publisher & Date: Scholastic, 2002
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Available in Spanish? Not at present
Formats other than Book: Audio CD, A video of the 1939 Lincoln Memorial concert is on the internet.
Scripture Connections: Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30); diversity in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12); What does God require of you but to do justice... (Micah 6:8)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson for children or teens on valuing God-given talents or realizing vocations. OR Use this book to explore how social injustice can prevent God's children from using their talents for good.

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