Coretta Scott

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Coretta Scott Book Poster Image
African-American Civil Rights worker celebrated in poetry.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

This is a celebration of justice and equality, especially seen through the eyes of a remarkable woman who helped make the civil rights movement happen in America.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book tells the story of the civil rights movement in poetry, through the hopeful eyes of Coretta Scott King. It's written in a way that is appropriate for younger kids.

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What's the story?

This is a story most Americans know, but one that should be told again and again. It tells about the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., and, more specifically, of Coretta Scott King, all in poetry. From the time she walked five miles to an all black school as a child to the time she joined in the march on Washington, D.C., Coretta Scott had a song in her heart and the strength to work tirelessly for peace, justice, and freedom for all people in America.

Is it any good?

This book is an inspirational poem about an inspirational woman. To begin with, Kadir Nelson's artwork is phenomenal Just look at the cover; Nelson's portrait of Coretta Scott is amazing. In that one painting, he captures not only strength, but the beauty, sensitivity, and hope of this woman who was much more than simply the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. Beyond that, each full-paged illustration expresses the same depth and complexity of feeling.

The text of Shange's poem, all lower case, humbly and beautifully put forward the story. This is not the time for shouting and stomping; this is the moment for honoring an elegant, intelligent woman. And this book does it well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different issues in the story, how they affected Coretta Scott, and how she affected them. Can you imagine walking five miles to school each day? Why did the black kids have to walk while the white kids rode on the bus? Look at their faces in the painting. How do you think they are feeling? What did they do about it? What would you do?

Book details

  • Author: Ntozake Shange
  • Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publication date: January 6, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
  • Number of pages: 32
  • Last updated: July 13, 2017

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