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.