Perfect Picture Book Friday: A PLACE TO LAND: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation PLUS Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! As promised, we have a double-decker, close-out-the-summer special: a brand-new picture book (just released on Tuesday – and if you leave a comment, you will be entered into the giveaway of a shiny new copy) that is sure to take plenty of awards…it’s already garnered amazing starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Horn Book. And here’s one from Kirkus:

★ “Wittenstein’s free-verse narrative perfectly captures the tension leading up to the speech as each adviser urged his own ideas while remaining a supportive community. Pinkney’s trademark illustrations dramatize this and the speech, adding power and further illuminating the sense of historical importance. Gives readers a fresh and thrilling sense of what it took to make history.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Which isn’t at all surprising because it’s written by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.

cover of A Place to Land

A PLACE TO LAND: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation

Written by Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated by Jerry Pickney

Published by Neal Porter (Holiday House – August 2019)

Ages: 7-10

Theme: Civil Rights, be true to yourself, cooperation

Synopsis: From Amazon:

Much has been written about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington. But there’s little on his legendary speech and how he came to write it. Find out more in this gripping book with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was once asked if the hardest part of preaching was knowing where to begin. No, he said. The hardest part is knowing where to end. “It’s terrible to be circling up there without a place to land.”
Finding this place to land was what Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled with, alongside advisors and fellow speech writers, in the Willard Hotel the night before the March on Washington, where he gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. But those famous words were never intended to be heard on that day, not even written down for that day, not even once.

Barry Wittenstein teams up with legendary illustrator Jerry Pinkney to tell the story of how, against all odds, Martin found his place to land.

Why I love this book:

  • Presents this historic moment in a context that makes it accessible to young children
  • As a writer, I appreciate Dr. King’s struggle with knowing where to land…where to end my story.
  • With each spread I fall more in love with Pinkney’s art and Wittenstein’s text…and that is the hallmark of a great picture book, right?


craft activitiesPhoto courtesy:

Lots to do here if you follow this website link:

Thank you for spending you precious time here, dear readers. Please don’t forget to leave a comment – thanks to Barry, we have a signed and inscribed copy of this amazing book to give away! And remember to come back tomorrow for his super-charged Q&A on Will Write for Cookies.

This is the LAST weekend in August…Labor Day weekend…that means summer is just about over. I’m sad about the early nights…but happy for all of the wonderful picture books that will be launching this fall! I’m wishing all of you a safe and happy weekend.

26 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: A PLACE TO LAND: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation PLUS Giveaway

  1. This is such a beautiful book, and so important. I would love to share it with my nephew, who has an open heart and could learn so much from it. Thank you for the chance, and for making me aware of this book.


  2. I can’t wait to see this book and find out more about King’s famous speech! Congratulations, Barry and Jerry, and thanks for featuring it, Vivian!


  3. I’m a huge Pinkney fan-of both he and his wife- and MLK has my utmost respect, such a man of God. I look forward to being introduced to Wittenstein’s words.
    Thanks for making me aware of this new release, Vivian. -Vicki


  4. Wow! I’m just a little speechless. I love the concept of this book and can’t wait to read it. What a life lesson for us all – finding a place to land. Thanks Vivian, for this introduction to what looks to be a fabulous book!


  5. This sounds amazing and is a great example of finding the untold or undertold story in what seems like a story already told so many times. Thanks for sharing and congratulations to the author-illustrator team!


  6. As I sat with friends in the basement of our college student union, we silenced our chatter as feet pounded down the stairs and panicked voices shouted, “King’s been shot!” We raced upstairs and scattered into the violence playing out on the grass. Campus police called for calm while swinging batons to “control” the chaos. Students of all colors dodged and ducked, trying to stay safe. In the aftermath, our campus became a divided community–black and white. Some of my best friends wore arm bands in remembrance of King and their ethnicity. We walked past one another in silence with sad eyes, knowing that our friendship had been changed forever. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood tall as a hero in my early life. His life, words, and death leave a legacy that is part of my own “coming of age” days. I can’t wait to read Wittenstein and Pickney’s book! It’s on my To-Do List to recommend to our library for purchase.
    I’m intrigued to find out the inspiration and process of King’s iconic speech. And, whatever book Pickney illustrates is, well, astounding!

    Thank you, Vivian, for giving a shout-out for this valuable picture book that offers readers a rare look into the writing process of a hero.


  7. I enjoy writing nonfiction for kids and this book will be an excellent one for me to read, not only as insights for my own skills, but also into an inspirational figure in history. Thank you for the chance!


  8. Wow! I’ve seen this book all summer-long, and now with a small comment I could win a copy! Win or lose, I have anticipation to look forward to. YAY! Thank you Vivian and Barry for the opportunity!


  9. Pingback: Perfect Pairing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Speeches | Wander, Ponder, Write

  10. Pingback: Perfect Pairing – Celebrates the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. | Wander, Ponder, Write

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