Pinkney, Andrea Davis. 1995. Alvin Ailey. NewYork: Hyperion. Ill. by Brian Pinkney. ISBN 978-078681077-2
B. PLOT SUMMARY
This narrative biography tells the story of Alvin Ailey and his journey from small town Texas to one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the 20th century.
C. CRITICAL ANALYSIS (INCLUDING CULTURAL MARKERS)
Andrea Davis Pinkney manages to tell the story of the development of Alvin Ailey as a dancer and person through her simple yet compelling narrative of his life. Information taken from interviews is interwoven with created dialogue to provide readers with a sense of who Ailey was as well as how he became that person. Pinkney creates a sense of African American culture from the beginning of the book through the use of church and music. She continues the journey by providing the reader with a glimpse of the racism and segregation which existed during Ailey's childhood.
Andrea Davis Pinkney receives a great deal of help in depicting the culture of Alvin Ailey with the wonderful illustrations of her husband Brian Pinkney. Brian Pinkney's illustrations depict African American people of strength and dignity. A strong sense of movement is created through the use of hash marks which present the illusion of dance from the flat pages of the book. Further, Mr. Pinkney's use of period appropriate clothing within his illustrations help to place the reader in the proper mindset to properly appreciate the barriers faced by Alvin Ailey in his quest to become a dancer.
D. REVIEW EXCERPTS
'lending it appeal for those previously unacquainted with the legendary artist as well as for young fans eager to learn how Ailey launched his impressive career." - Publishers Weekly
"the book is both informative and inspiring and will make an excellent addition to most collections" - School Library Journal
"Moving with the rhythm of repeated lines and strong compositions, the scratch board and oil pastel illustrations create a vivid sense of dance and capture Ailey's vibrancy" - Booklist
"will leave readers hungry for more" - Kirkus
Horn Book Fanfare 1994 for nonfiction
Children can investigate the work and legacy of Alvin Ailey by visiting
Visit youtube and watch the AAADT in action
Look for these other books for young people about Alvin Ailey and dance:
Beautiful Ballerina by Marilyn Nelson
Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen
Alvin Ailey by Gitenstein