Recently I have noticed that while the text of the picture books I have been reading is good and/or strong, and the subjects important, I am leaning towards the artwork for it to be a hit or miss in the end. And Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual strongly falls into that category.
Carole Boston Weatherford’s picture book is a must read. The theme is a wonderful spiritual that explains the history of enslaved people, of the strength of the black community. But it was Frank Morrison’s artwork that blew me away.
The colors are deep, strong, rich, solid, smooth. They come to life with details that cannot all be gathered at once. You need to read the text, but you need to savor the imagery. The past, present and the future are there for all to learn about, marvel about and embrace.
I say it a lot, but it is an experience book. It is something that you feel and see. You will be engulfed with the deepness and thoughtfulness of the history that is shown. It is a story of faith and enduring. It is timely and proud. The ending has an afterwards that includes the people included. Some of the people mentioned we might now, others might be new, and some are familiar, but we know little about them.
Some images might not be for young or sensitive readers (there are images of slavery). Some images you will love and others you will be less fond of. Some images I found awkward and others I would frame. This is part of the reason I liked them. They were expressive. There was much to contemplate, and they complement the words perfectly.