The Rab­bi and the Rev­erend: Joachim Prinz, Mar­tin Luther King Jr., and Their Fight against Silence

Audrey Ades, Chiara Fedele (Illus­tra­tor)

  • Review
By – September 6, 2021

This emo­tion­al pic­ture book cap­tures two dif­fer­ent men who share the same plea: do not be silent about injus­tice! They are from dif­fer­ent coun­tries, with dif­fer­ing back­grounds, and have faced dif­fer­ent dan­gers that have turned the scars they bear into activist out­reach implor­ing the world to stand up. Both men become reli­gious lead­ers whose speech­es make them famous. Joachim Prinz from Ger­many and Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. from the Unit­ed States have per­son­al­ly expe­ri­enced the pain that fuels their messages.

In The Rab­bi and the Rev­erend, Prinz immi­grates to Amer­i­ca, hop­ing to gain safe­ty and free­dom. Instead, he finds many peo­ple suf­fer­ing from racism, which denies the very val­ues he believes Amer­i­ca cham­pi­ons. He speaks out against social injus­tice and asks Amer­i­cans not to be qui­et about this ter­ri­ble inequal­i­ty. King has faced dis­crim­i­na­tion for years but now wants his peo­ple to speak out, to stop being silent, to claim their birthright as equal citizens.

Each man hears about the oth­er; they meet and they are drawn togeth­er by their shared mes­sage. They appear togeth­er in pub­lic to fight for Civ­il Rights. They speak at the Nation­al Mall at a mas­sive ral­ly. King gives his famous I Have a Dream” speech; Prinz pleads for an end to silence. They go to the White House.

Sophis­ti­cat­ed illus­tra­tions in a mut­ed pal­let and in an eye-catch­ing lay­out evoke these great men to young read­ers. The book includes a time­line, a glos­sary, and a short bib­li­og­ra­phy. Read­ers will find hope in the mes­sages they share and in mem­o­ries of the Rab­bi and the Reverend.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

Discussion Questions