Here is what people are saying about The Rabbi And The Reverend
Jolene C. DeFranco, Librarian, Lexington Creek Elementary, Missouri City, Texas
Martin Luther King, Jr. gained inspiration that fueled his passionate and relentless work for justice and civil rights from many people, such as Mahatma Gandhi, and places, such as the segregated South where he spent his youthful years. One of his lesser-known influences was Rabbi Joachim Prinz, who both experienced and spoke out against racism in Nazi Germany. When Prinz was forced to flee to America, he was shocked to see the same kind of treatment he was fleeing being experienced by Black individuals in America. Prinz began to speak out, proclaiming that silence about injustices is the greatest threat to justice for all. This book parallels the lives of the two men as well as their shared message, eventually covering how it led them to speak together during the 1963 March on Washington. This is a short but important book that gives readers one more angle on the Civil Rights story, another venue for sharing the message of justice, a reinforcement of the vital need to speak up against wrongs, and an example of how it takes many individuals to create a movement. The subdued tones and unfinished lines of the drawings add to the seriousness and reflect the unfinished nature of the subject. Included at the end of the story is a helpful timeline, a photograph of the event, and several suggested books for further reading. Glossary.
Two activists’ paths overlap as they call out systems of injustice.
Joachim Prinz was born in 1902 in Germany, and he became the country’s youngest rabbi in 1926. When Adolf Hitler came to power, Prinz spoke up against antisemitism and was arrested several times before finally leaving Germany for the United States in 1937—where he was dismayed to find Black people being deprived of equal rights, as Jews had been in Germany. Meanwhile, Martin Luther King Jr. experienced segregation as a boy in the 1930s. When he became a leader of the civil rights movement, the two leaders met, supported each other, and fought together. The juxtaposition of these two leaders’ paths and the explanation of what their causes, beliefs, and communities had in common is, in Ades’ hands, a well-woven historical tale that is worth sharing and spreading. The culmination of the story in 1963 at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom allows young readers to see both that King was not the only speaker at that famous event and that those by his side had also worked for years. The illustrations focus largely on the main figures but also offer scenes of daily life in Germany and the United States. Scenes of protest are styled, scrapbooklike, as black-and-white faux photos against monochromatic backgrounds. Details from each leader’s childhood add depth to their stories, and the focus on silence as the enemy points to readers’ responsibility to speak up against injustice.
Ably makes useful connections. (timeline, glossary, resources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)
Sydney Taylor Schmooze
By: Rachel Simon
The Rabbi and The Reverend: Joachim Prinz, Martin Luther King Jr. and Their Fight Against Silence tells the story of two men in their fight for civil rights in the 1960’s. Readers have the pleasure of getting to know a little backstory of King and Prinz’s lives before they met, as well as their interactions together. Prinz left Germany when things began to become difficult for Jews with the Nazis’ rise, and even talked about leaving before things got worse. The picture book is filled with strong illustrations that help enhance the text. The mood varies between hopeful and somber, portraying the struggles Prinz and King encountered as they fought against silence. Overall, The Rabbi and the Reverend is a great introduction to two real life figures that spoke up against injustice. There is back matter that will be helpful for a reader who will want to learn more about these two important figures in civil rights history.
The Rabbi and The Reverend is well written, informative and engaging. It includes many Jewish values, such as tikkun olam, tzedek, and kehillah, which is why I think it should be possibly considered for the Sydney Taylor Book Award.
Reviewer Rachel Simon is a member of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award committee.