Ryan, Pan Munoz. 2002. WHEN MARIAN SANG. Illus. by Brian Selznick. New York: Scholastic Press. ISBN: 0-439-26967-9.
Sutton, Roger. 2002. WHEN MARIAN SANG (BOOK). Horn Book Magazine 78 (6).
In EBSCOhost [database online]. Available from http://www.epnet.com/ehost/login.html. Accessed 31 June 03.
When Marian Sang is a nonfiction biography on the life of the famous African-American singer Marian Anderson. This book is the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award winner for 2003. It has won other awards as well, including SLJ Best Book of the Year, ALA Sibert Honor Award, ALA Notable book and the Parents Choice Gold Award.
The life of the singer is displayed and the reader is inspired in this finely crafted book. She lived during a difficult time for African-Americans. She used her gift to break down barriers between races, helping to smooth a path for the civil rights movement. According to a review in Horn Book Magazine this book is a bit of a mythification of her life, but much of it the author got right. The writing is clear and lucid.
The artful illustrations are beautifully done. The colors used and the design are classy, just like the woman herself. Brian Selznick places light around her in most illustrations, as if she were an angel sent to the world from Heaven above. A review in the Horn Book Magazine says this: "The large double-page spreads are impressive in sweep and scale but keep their humanity by using a limited palate re-creating the tones of old sepia photographs; judicious sky-blue accents keep the sun shining."
This wonderful book will be a brilliant addition to every library; be it public, school or home.