A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers are exposed to a well-known spiritual, from the early 1900s. The song, often performed in African American churches, represents the importance of seeking guidance in times of great adversity. Important figures and events are featured throughout the illustrations, including the Tuskegee Airmen and athletes Colin Kaepernick and Florence Griffith Joyner (FloJo).
We need help and encouragement when faced with hate and oppression. It's important to strive for justice and peace. There's hope for a brighter tomorrow, based on how far we've already come. Themes include advocating for change.
Positive Role Models
All the characters and historical figures featured, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Nat Turner, are positive role models.They try to maintain their dignity while being abused, and use their voices to create change. The song's lyrics set the foundation for the book's text, which shows the link between the struggles for equality and justice of the past and those of the present.
Showcases a diverse group of people from the past and present. Advocates for change are different ages and skin tones, with different characteristics.
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Violence & Scariness
Depicts enslaved Africans, bound and chained, being trafficked and sold in the United States.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual is a moving picture book inspired by the timeless church hymn from the early 1900s. The book was written by award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford (Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre) and illustrated by award-wining artist Frank Morrison (Kick Push). And it won the 2023 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. The classic lyrics of "Standing in the Need of Prayer" have been given new life, presented next to moving illustrations from monumental moments in Black history. The book highlights celebration and triumphs, while not shying away from times of sadness and despair, and depicting the enslavement of African Americans. Themes include striving for equality and change, resiliency in the face of adversity, and having hope for the future.
Is It Any Good?
This picture book is a touching and emotional tribute to a timeless church hymn, and what it has meant to those who've been oppressed. Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual is hard to read without singing or humming the tune, if you're familiar with this church classic that remains powerfully relevant. The book is likely to spark hard questions and deep reflections from young readers.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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