Books by Brian Pinkney

ON THE BALL by Brian Pinkney
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"An inspired, exhilarating portrait of the transforming power of imagination, with special appeal for aspiring soccer stars. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Failing to keep his eye on the soccer ball, a player finds himself on an eventful chase to catch the runaway plaything. Read full book review >
MARTIN & MAHALIA by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Released: Aug. 6, 2013

"Sure to become an indispensable part of annual Black History Month celebrations and library nonfiction collections on important African-Americans. (Informational picture book. 6-12)"
A well-illustrated and meticulously researched story of the inextricably intertwined lives of two important African-American historical figures. Read full book review >
BUSY-BUSY LITTLE CHICK by Janice N. Harrington
Released: Feb. 19, 2013

"Potential confusion aside, this well-told and beautifully illustrated offering makes a distinctive addition to folklore collections. (author's note, glossary) (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)"
Based on a fable of the Nkundo people of Central Africa, this compelling tale brings home the message that if you want something done right—or at all—sometimes you have to do it yourself. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 23, 2012

"A feast for readers whose eyes are (or should be) on the prize, in a volume as well-turned-out as the dapper W.E.B. Dubois, who was 'more handsome than a fresh-cut paycheck.' (timeline, index, lists of recommended reading and viewing) (Collective biography. 10-15)"
Addressing the appetites of readers "hungry for role models," this presents compellingly oratorical pictures of the lives and characters of 10 African-American men who exemplify a "birthright of excellence." Read full book review >
LITTLE DIVA by LaChanze
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: May 11, 2010

"Accompanying CD read and sung by the author not heard. (Picture book. 3-7)"
An award-winning combo, she of the Tony and he of the ALA variety, perform a spirited duet of words and pictures in which Nena, the "D.I.T.—that's a Diva-in-Training," narrates a day in her life. Read full book review >
SOJOURNER TRUTH’S STEP-STOMP STRIDE by Andrea Davis Pinkney
FICTION
Released: Nov. 24, 2009

"Imbued with a righteous beauty—like Sojourner herself. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)"
The Pinkneys (Boycott Blues, 2008, etc.) collaborate on an upbeat yet nuanced picture biography of Sojourner Truth, whose slave name was Isabella. Read full book review >
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"Parks's preceding, years-long activism in civil-rights issues is unexamined in both text and author's note, however, continuing an unfortunate silence shared with other treatments of the subject for young children. (author's note, further resources) (Picture book. 5-8)"
Grounded in the events of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, this hybrid of fact and fiction is leavened by a guitar-picking hound dog's blues-imbued narration. Read full book review >
WE ARE ONE by Ysaye M. Barnwell
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: March 1, 2008

"The message is important, but the execution is at odds with the level of understanding of young children. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Barnwell's song speaks of the universality of humanity and the endless possibilities of life. Read full book review >
PEGGONY-PO by Andrea Davis Pinkney
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2006

"Reminiscent of tall-tale heroes like Pecos Bill and John Henry, Peggony-Po and his larger-than-life seafaring antics result in a rollicking Moby-Dick for the small set. (author's note, glossary, further reading) (Picture book. 4-7)"
A fearless young whaler leads a fearsome whale on a merry chase, triggering the Great Whale Bet of 1847. Read full book review >
HUSH, LITTLE BABY by Brian Pinkney
MUSIC AND THE ARTS
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

"The music for the lullaby is included on the back cover. (author's note) (Picture book. 2-7)"
This traditional American lullaby is gracefully interpreted in Pinkney's distinctive style, showing a 1900s-era African-American family working together to hush their baby, a solemn little girl two or three years old. Read full book review >
JACKIE’S BAT by Marybeth Lorbiecki
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

"A gentle message about the insidious nature of racism. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Joey is the batboy for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, and he is unsure of how to deal with Jackie Robinson. Read full book review >
SLEEPING CUTIE by Andrea Davis Pinkney
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"Nothing here on the level of some of the Pinkneys' other work—the attractive, brightly colored ink illustrations emphasize sweetness over artistic richness—but the musical interlude adds a lively touch of nightclub excitement to this bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Cutie LaRue is sweet as cream—until bedtime rolls around. Read full book review >
THUMBELINA by Hans Christian Andersen
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"And even though her eye makeup looks like it was laid on with a trowel, the preciousness that tends to infect other renditions of the tale is less evident in this readable adaptation. (Picture book/fairy tale. 8-10)"
Minor details and most of Andersen's literary flourishes have been cut out of this shortened version, but the essential plot is intact. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Pinkney's bold paint and scratchboard illustrations also emphasize the theme of light and flame. (Picture book/nonfiction. 10+)"
In this ambitious and unusual oversized volume, eight episodes from Jewish history are experienced through the eyes of child witnesses. Read full book review >
MIM’S CHRISTMAS JAM by Andrea Davis Pinkney
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

"The Pinkneys have again succeeded in presenting a lesser-known aspect of African-American history as a moving, sensitive story with which modern young readers can identify. (Picture book. 4-9)"
It's 1915 and Pap is in New York City, working on the construction of the subway system. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 2001

"Cool. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)"
In this terrific picture-book biography, Scat Cat Monroe, a slick, fast-talking cat tells the story of Ella Fitzgerald, the Queen of Scat. Read full book review >
COSMO AND THE ROBOT by Brian Pinkney
FICTION
Released: April 5, 2000

"There's not much science in this science fiction, but Batman's utility belt has nothing on Cosmo's, and young readers will cheer his mechanical aptitude as much as his heroism. (Picture book. 6-8)"
This master of scratchboard crafts another fantasyadventure a la his Adventures of Sparrowboy (1997), this one set on Mars. Read full book review >
CENDRILLON by Robert D. San Souci
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"Pinkney's scratchboard illustrations give the comic proportions a tangibility that leaps off the page—the laundry snaps, the coachmen jostle with the movement of the carriage, and the stepdaughter's toes, are, indeed, sausages. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)"
San Souci's retelling of the Cinderella story in a Martinique mode has music to it that cannot be denied. Read full book review >
DUKE ELLINGTON by Andrea Davis Pinkney
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 1998

"Like Chris Raschka's solos, Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop (1992) and Mysterious Thelonius (1997), this loving tribute temptingly evokes the sound and spirit of a jazz pioneer. (Picture book/biography. 8-10)"
PLB 0-7868-2150-7 Addressing readers directly—"You ever heard of the jazz-playin' man, the man with the cats who could swing with his band?"—the Pinkneys embark on a cool and vibrant tour of Duke Ellington's musical career, from the pool hall ragtime that "set Duke's fingers to wiggling," to his 1943 Carnegie Hall concert, also giving some of the soloists that played with him, and songwriter Billy Strayhorn, a chance to step forward. Read full book review >
BILL PICKETT by Andrea Davis Pinkney
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

From the creators of Dear Benjamin Banneker (1994), rip-snorting picture-book biography of the first African-American cowboy inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Read full book review >
WILEY AND THE HAIRY MAN by Judy Sierra
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

"Sierra (see above) and Bang drew from the same original source, and their texts are very similar; use the new as a replacement or alternative to the old—better yet, learn the story and tell it! (Picture book/folklore. 5-7)"
Wiley and his mother fool the powerful Hairy Man once, twice, three times, sending him fleeing back into the swamp. Read full book review >
WHEN I LEFT MY VILLAGE by Maxine Rose Schur
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 1996

"A handsome work. (Picture book. 6-10)"
From the team behind Day of Delight (1994), a fictionalized account of the 198491 Falasha exodus from Ethiopia to Israel, narrated in an elevated, almost epic style by 12-year-old Menelik. Read full book review >
DEAR BENJAMIN BANNEKER by Andrea Davis Pinkney
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"Still, the text is serviceable; and Brian Pinkney's glowing paint-and-scratchboard illustrations vibrate with dignity and purpose. (Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection) (Biography/Picture book. 5-10)"
This outline of the accomplishments of the distinguished African-American astronomer and mathematician focuses on the landmark publication of his first almanac and an eloquent 1791 letter to Thomas Jefferson. Read full book review >
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

"A handsome and informative book. (Pronunciation guide; glossary; author's note) (Fiction/Picture book. 4-10)"
``Well into the twentieth century the Beta Israel [Ethiopian Jews] were so isolated, they believed themselves to be the only Jews in the world,'' explains Schur (The Circlemaker, p. 74) in a note that also mentions the flight of many of their number to Sudan and Israel in the wake of civil war and famine in the 1980s. Read full book review >
MAX FOUND TWO STICKS by Brian Pinkney
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"A perfect marriage of idea and art. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Sitting on his stoop near the end of a tidy block of row houses, Max seizes on a couple of sticks that blow from a tree and begins tapping: on his own thighs; on the bottom of Grandpa's window-washing bucket; on a hatbox his mother brings home, bottles, a garbage can. Read full book review >
ALVIN AILEY by Andrea Davis Pinkney
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 11, 1993

"A final note fills in some of the facts; this attractive introduction, based on interviews with many who knew Ailey, will leave readers hungry for more. (Biography/Picture book)"
A slightly fictionalized account of the great dancer- choreographer's (1931-89) early training and rise to fame, ending with the triumphant 1960 production of Revelations. Read full book review >
SEVEN CANDLES FOR KWANZAA by Andrea Davis Pinkney
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"Useful four-item reading list. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 7-9)"
An introduction to the history, symbols, and customary celebration of this African-American holiday. Read full book review >
CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH by Robert D. San Souci
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 21, 1993

"Brief introduction by Jane Yolen; map; bibliography. (Folklore. 8+)"
A frequent author retells old stories and, in effect, fashions new ones to fill a void that—he says in his preface—he deplores. Read full book review >
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARTIN LUTHER KING by Jean Marzollo
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"A quiet, poignantly telling book. (Biography/Picture book. 4+)"
In a thoughtful note, Marzollo suggests that adults may wish to change the words ``shot and killed'' to ``died'' when sharing this book with preschoolers, but goes on to advise that ``if we handle the subject sensitively, we will find that children, like ourselves, can look at truth and cope with death.'' Narrating King's life and accomplishments with a dignity and simplicity that is equally appropriate for young children or less accomplished older readers, the author concludes with a graceful summary of the reasons he is honored with a special day. Read full book review >
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"A fine collection that teaches as it entertains. (Fiction. 10-13)"
McKissack invites readers to gather in the ``dark-thirty''- -the eerie half hour when dusk darkens to night—for ten shivery tales inspired by African-American folklore and history. Read full book review >
THE ELEPHANT'S WRESTLING MATCH by Judy Sierra
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"Colorful and dramatic. (Folklore/Picture book. 6-8)"
The elephant thunders out his boast—``No one can bring me down!''—and the monkey's talking drum sends the challenge echoing across the plains. Read full book review >
SUKEY AND THE MERMAID by Robert D. San Souci
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 31, 1992

"An unusually handsome presentation of an appealing tale. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)"
Weary of the unreasonable demands of Mister Jones, her new stepfather, Sukey escapes to the water's edge, where she meets ``a beautiful, brown-skinned, black-eyed mermaid''—Mama Jo—who befriends and comforts her and each day gives her a gold coin. Read full book review >
WHERE DOES THE TRAIL LEAD? by Burton Albert
FICTION
Released: June 26, 1991

"Quiet, but nice. (Picture book. 4-9)"
The trail in question is the route of a boy exploring ``Summertime Island,'' where he finds a lighthouse, various creatures, ``a ghost town of shanties at the edge of the sea,'' and a derelict boat, then returns to picnic with his parents on the beach at twilight. Read full book review >
A WAVE IN HER POCKET by Lynn Joseph
FICTION
Released: April 22, 1991

"Glossary. (Fiction/Folklore. 8-12)"
The author of Coconut Kind of Day (1990) returns to the Caribbean to present a series of six vignettes featuring traditional folklore. Read full book review >