When Marian Sang

Author: Pam Munoz Ryan

Illustrator: Brian Selznick

Publisher and Year: Scholastic Inc. 2002

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Nonfiction




This is the true story about how one little girl proved that dreams really do come true. Marian Anderson has a voice like none other and her talent is seen by many people. Soon she works hard enough to go to music school and she keeps learning and learning till finally she is heard from different countries all over the world.

This story is such an inspiration to many children with high hopes and dreams. It serves as a mirror for some, seeing themselves as Marian and wanting to perform just like she did. This book can function as a door to open children’s eyes that anything is possible, and if a person works hard enough, they can succeed. It also gives the real life challenges and struggles that Marian had to face as she continued to become a better singer. It gives the reality of dialogue and situations that African Americans faced such as blacks not being able to apply for music school or not being able to preform in “Whites only” theatres or auditoriums.

Perceptual- Marian faces hatred and racism throughout the book. When she applies for music school, the woman behind the counter tells her that she doesn’t service Negros.

Structural-  The text is either written on the side of the pictures or below the pictures. The pictures are not framed so the audience feels involved instead of looking in like an outsider. In one of the pictures, Marian sings with the choir and the robes look like they have stars on them, which could foreshadow Marian’s stardom that was about to come.

Ideology- The issues with racism and how even though Marian had an outstanding voice, she was still treated as lower than common whites because of the color of her skin. She had to sit with the other African Americans when she rode on the train, and the President of the United States had to issue an order to let her sing in a whites only space.

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Author: Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrator: Kadir Nelson

Publisher and year: Hyperion Books for Children 2006

Number of Pages: 37

Genre: Nonfiction




This is the true story of Harriet Tubman. She was a slave in the south who escaped and eventually gained her freedom. She went back to her former master’s plantation and took with her other slaves who longed to be free. This story tells of her miraculous journey and her unwavering faith in God.

This is such a wonderful book because it serves multiple purposes. It teaches children about real people who changed history. It teaches children that Harriet Tubman was real and she led many slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. It opens doors for kids who might be curious about who she was and after reading the book, they go and search and learn more about her. Some kids can connect with her struggles, struggles meaning doubting in her faith or overcoming an obstacle. This book can serve as a mirror for children who might see themselves in certain situations and the book can provide a sense of encouragement.

Perceptual- In some circumstances, Harriet Tubman prays to God asking him to stay with her, or help her find her way to freedom. And God always answers her, reassuring her that everything is going to work out.

Structural- When God speaks, His words are in all capital letters, maybe symbolizing that He is bigger and more powerful than any of Harriet’s problems. His texts are also printed so that it fits with the setting on each page. For example, when the wind is blowing or waves are presents, the text is curved and moves up and down.

Ideology- Not all white people were for slavery. In the book, the author tells of white people helping Harriet Tubman escape from her plantation to a free state, and even then after she went back to free more slaves.

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