In tribute to the work of the American Civil Liberties Union, 16 illustrators offer art for and commentary on pithy statements on human rights that have particularly moved them.
Some of the contributors—notably Sean Qualls for Maya Angelou’s “Still I rise” and Greg Pizzoli for a line from W.E.B. Dubois about the cowardice of those who “dare not know”—have made their chosen quotation a central visual component of the art. Some offer conventional views of people of color on the march (Innosanto Nagara, for a quote from Khalil Gibran) or idyllic scenes of giving and cooperation (Alina Chau, Molly Idle). Others opt for more oblique, often provocative responses. Brian Pinkney, for instance, illustrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that” with a racially diverse crowd of smiling faces over an equally diverse crowd of scowling ones; for Dolores Huerta’s reminder that we are all one human race, Raúl the Third depicts a mother and child hugging each other through a tall fence of slats; a collage based on the American flag by Melissa Sweet features phrases from the Constitution and other significant documents in the white stripes and in place of stars, a defiant McCarthy-era manifesto from E.B. White. As further food for thought, the artists all add personal reflections, some relatively lengthy, about what their chosen passage means to them.
A heady mix of visual and verbal inspiration, nearly every page rewarding slow, thoughtful attention. (illustrator bios) (Picture book. 7-10)