Coretta’s Journey: The Life and Times of Coretta Scott King

Calkins Creek. Sept. 2023. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781662680045.
Gr 2-5–A marvelous tribute to the activist, singer, and wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Duncan crafts a captivating look at the life and legacy of Coretta Scott King. Her father was the first Black man in their segregated Alabama town to own a vehicle, and the Scotts owned acres of land and several businesses. The destruction of their property multiple times and her father’s fearlessness only served to inspire her journey. When she was denied a chance to teach in the white public schools, she waged a one-woman protest. Through this nuanced biography of the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” readers will learn how Coretta Scott King’s passion for social justice was ingrained in her from birth. After Dr. King’s assassination, she dedicated her life to ensuring that he was memorialized with a national holiday. Duncan’s narrative emphasizes King’s strength and bravery, and how she inspired her husband to make difficult choices for the cause. The text’s musicality recalls King’s vocalist background. The alternating formats, prose and a variety of poetry forms, add to the subject’s treatment as a heroic figure on a fateful journey. The author’s text leans heavily on metaphors connected to the cosmos and celestial objects, reflecting the Kings’ belief that they were divinely appointed by God, their “cosmic partner.” Christie’s art is done in mixed media watercolors, and readers will wish they could physically touch the paintings. Back matter includes a time line, thorough bibliography, and an author’s note.
VERDICT Gorgeous text and resplendent illustrations present a nuanced picture book biography for all shelves.

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