Disclaimer: I was provided an advanced copy of this book from the author to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.
- The Facts: Mahalia Jackson Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan, illustrated by John Holyfield, published in the USA 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers, 30 pages, ISBN 978-0-06-087944-0.
- Summary: Mahalia Jackson Walking with Kings and Queens is the story of a young Mahalia Jackson and her journey to becoming the Queen of Gospel. This book takes you from the origins of young Mahalia’s life, and her journey towards stardom as a gospel luminary and prominent member of the African-American community, by learning to follow her dreams and not letting her circumstances dictate her possibilities. This book is ideal for children aged 5-10 years old, grades K-3, and could be read to younger children.
- The Review: It is almost mid-way through Black History Month, and I couldn’t have been happier to read this story with my children. An interesting thread that came out of our conversation about this book was the theme of legacy, and how a person’s life can leave a lasting impact or a difference even after they’re gone. My son noticed in the chronology in the back of the book that in 2009 the Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans was rebuilt in 2009, which prompted him to ask me if Mahalia was still alive. I said no, she died in 1972, and this led to the conversation. Bottom Line: Mahalia Jackson Walking with Kings and Queens is a great conversation starter and a relateable biography designed for the target audience.