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I See the Promised Land
A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
By (author): Arthur Flowers
9781554983285 Hardcover English Juvenile: Age (years) to 12, Grade (US) to 7 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Biography Feb 08, 2013
$18.95 CAD
Forthcoming 6.5 x 9.25 in | 1.18 lb 156 pages Full-color illustrations throughout Groundwood Books

African American writer, griot and blues singer Arthur Flowers and Indian scroll painter Manu Chitrakar combine their very distinctive storytelling traditions in an extraordinary jam session, creating this stunning graphic narrative-style biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

The engaging text describes the apartheid South in Martin Luther King’s time, which in many ways was not very different from the early days of slavery. Included are descriptions of the Montgomery Bus Boycott; the formation of civil rights groups; mass movements against segregation, such as the Albany Movement and the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, after which King became black America’s acknowledged leader; and the influence on King of Gandhi, with his nonviolent approach to resistance. We are told about King’s personal struggles as well as the political challenges he faced with the rise of Malcolm X and Black Power. Flowers’ text concludes with a brief look at his legacy.

Arthur Flowers tells a masterful story in musical prose, based on griot oral storytelling traditions, bringing his own perspective to the events he describes, while Manu Chitrakar carries the tale into the vivid idiom of Patua art, turning King’s historic journey into a truly universal legacy.

Includes editorial notes, a description of how this extraordinary cross-cultural book came to be, and a note on Patua art.

Arthur Flowers teaches at Syracuse University in the English Department’s MFA program in Creative Writing. A native of Memphis, he has been Executive Director of the Harlem Writers Guild and co-founder of the New Renaissance Writers Guild and the Pan African Literary Forum. He is a blues-based performance poet who considers himself literary heir to both the Western written tradition and the African oral one. He lives in Syracuse, New York.

Moyna Chitrakar is an artist and performer from the Patua scroll painting tradition. She is also the illustrator of the unique scroll book Tsunami, published by Tara Books. 

... a compelling biography that reawakens a life story... an impassioned, sympathetic, and dimensional portrait of [Martin Luther King Jr]... The result is a piece that’s both dramatic and informative, a combination of rolling narration and striking visuals that suggests theater and cinema. Its creative approach will help veteran readers discover King afresh. - Deborah Stevenson, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

An innovative homage to Martin Luther King that mythologizes him even as it acknowledges his foibles, this book uses a cohesive design to blend African griot storytelling and folk art from India to create a bold graphic novel. - Jonathan Hunt, Horn Book Reviews

Brilliant and engaging . . . A colorful and passionate addition to the Martin Luther King, Jr., bookshelf. - Paula Willey, School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Both evocative and factually rich . . . Flowers provides an incisive and succinct text that steadily maintains the propulsive griot narrative style of King's African ancestry. - Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

An outstanding cultural hybrid of unexpected storytelling and graphic traditions. - Book Dragon

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