Cover image for When Marian sang : the true recital of Marian Anderson : the voice of a century
When Marian sang : the true recital of Marian Anderson : the voice of a century
Ryan, Pam Muñoz.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
An introduction to the life of Marian Anderson, extraordinary singer and civil rights activist, who was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, whose life and career encouraged social change.
Reading Level:
780 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.2 0.5 64311.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.9 2 Quiz: 31764 Guided reading level: P.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML3930.A5 R93 2002 Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Black History
ML3930.A5 R93 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
ML3930.A5 R93 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
ML3930.A5 R93 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
ML3930.A5 R93 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



Marian Anderson is best known for her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, which drew an integrated crowd of 75,000 people in pre-Civil Rights America. While this momentous event showcased the uniqueness of her voice, the strength of her character, and the struggles of the times in which she lived, it is only part of her story. Like the operatic arias Marian would come to sing, Ryan's text is as moving as a libretto, and Selznick's pictures as exquisitely detailed and elaborately designed as a stage set. What emerges most profoundly from their shared vision is a role model of courage.

Author Notes

Author Pam Muñoz Ryan was born in Bakersfield, California on December 25, 1951. She received a B. A. in child development and a M. A. in education from San Diego State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a bilingual Head Start teacher and as an early childhood program administrator. At first, she wrote adult books about child development, but soon switched to writing children's books.

She has written over twenty-five picture books, novels, and nonfiction books for young readers. The novel Esperanza Rising, winner of the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Peace Award, an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults, and the Americas Award Honor Book, is based on her own grandmother's immigration from Mexico to California. Riding Freedom has also won many awards including the national Willa Cather Award and the California Young Reader Medal. When Marian Sang, a picture book about singer Marian Anderson, won numerous awards including the ALA Sibert Honor and NCTE's Orbis Pictus Award. In 2015 her title Echo made The New York Times Best Seller List. She also won a Kirkus Prize in the children's literature category with her title 'Echo'.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 3. In a lush, operatic style that suits the subject, this large-sized picture-book biography of the great vocalist Marian Anderson captures the story of her triumph in the face of the vicious segregation of her time. The passionate words and beautifully detailed sepia-tone pictures select moments from her life to present a true story that seems like a theatrical Cinderella tale. The extraordinarily gifted child is denied access to music school ("We don't take colored!"), but she is nurtured by home and church and becomes a star. When she returns from wild acclaim abroad, however, she's refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall, where "white performers only" is the rule. The narrative is sometimes overblown, with just too much about Marian's "examining her heart" and feeling sick in her stomach. But the interweaving of the spirituals Anderson sang, which express her trouble and her strength, is exceptionally moving. Selznick's stirring pictures convey the personal and political drama in both the performance scenes and the close-up portraits, and the climactic picture is unforgettable: children see Anderson's concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 from the perspective of the huge mixed audience. A lengthy, detailed afterword, in small type; a discography; and a bibliography (including mention of Anderson's autobiography) are provided for older students who want to know more. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

The creative team behind Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride returns with a picture book biography as understated and graceful as its subject, singer Marian Anderson (1897-1993). Tracing the African-American diva from her beginnings as an eight-year-old church choir wonder ("the pride of South Philadelphia") through years of struggle to rise above the racism that would delay her debut with the Metropolitan Opera until she was 57, this book masterfully distills the events in the life of an extraordinary musician. Ryan's narrative smoothly integrates biographical details with lyrics from the gospel songs Anderson made famous: a passage about the budding singer's longing to perform onstage ("Opera was simply the sun and the moon a dream that seemed too far away to reach") segues to "He's got the sun and the moon right in His hands"; "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child..." follows a 2/3 spread of the singer on the bow of a ship bound for Europe, the sun creating a halo effect. Working with a sepia-toned palette, Selznick's paintings shimmer with emotion, his range of shading as versatile as Anderson's three-octave voice. Whether depicting her as barely visible beyond the crowds at her famous 1939 concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or in a final scene of her stepping into the spotlight at the Met, the images are striking and memorable (particularly the soulful face of Marian herself as she matures from child to woman). The author's and artist's notes, timeline and discography round out this stellar effort. Ages 6-10. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Interspersed with the spiritual songs she sang and including lengthy author's notes, this picture book traces Marian Anderson's history-making career. Add Ryan's Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride (Scholastic, 1999. ISBN 0-590-96075-X) to bring three exceptional women to the classroom. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.