Coretta’s Journey: The Life and Times of Coretta Scott King by Alice Faye Duncan and R. Gregory Christie

Happy Wednesday! I'm honored to welcome Alice Faye Duncan to Watch. Connect. Read. She stopped by to discuss Coretta's Journey: The Life and Times of Coretta Scott King, R. Gregory Christie's illustrations, story, and more. I wrote the words in purple, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Alice Faye Duncan! 

Coretta’s Journey: The Life and Times of Coretta Scott King is the untold story of Dr. King's cosmic companion and life partner. Before she was a King, Coretta was a Scott in segregated, Heiburger, Alabama.

Obie and Bernice Scott's middle child was a fist-fighting girl with an irritable temper. Coretta's childhood was also tried by fire and racial terror. When she was ten, a spiritual experience transformed Coretta's pugilist manner and set her on course to be a voice for justice.

Few understand Coretta Scott King's "herstory." She was a pacifist, fully grown and committed to freedom work when she met Dr. King, married him, and helped dismantle segregation during the American Civil Rights Movement.

Coretta's Journey is the greatest love story never told. With her rock-steady commitment to liberation, Dr. King was loved, supported and inspired to march onward, when it was so easy to quit. While she aspired to be a concert singer during her youth, her vision expanded beyond music. She too was an orator, civil rights strategist, and coalition woman. Coretta's lifelong efforts to preach non-violence and celebrate Martin's life as a holiday, makes her a shining light, worthy of praise.

R. Gregory Christie’s illustrations are majestic water colors. Each painting and portrait appear to ripple like visions from a dream. Water colors are Greg's departure from pencils, acrylics and oils. The medium makes the illustrations palpable. Each facial expression is emotional and moving.

Did you know I wrote Coretta's Journey after researching her and Martin's zodiac signs? Coretta is a Taurus. Her planet is Venus. Martin is a Capricorn. His planet is Saturn. These planets converge in the skies. Boom! A love story indeed.

Dr. King referred to God as his "Cosmic Companion." Considering the star-crossed connections, I go a step further. In my text, I suggest that Martin's relationship with Coretta is cosmic, divine—a predestination of fate.

Nonfiction picture books teach, inspire, and entertain. Nonfiction picture books are essential in homes and schools because they give young people, profiles in courage. What students read and see—they will be.

Story is a myriad of literary adventures with the potential to transform a reader's body, soul, and spirit. Story births wisdom, bolsters self-esteem, and builds character. Story like all art forms is a healing balm for a broken world.

John Schu, you should have asked me why did you write this book? Beyond her marital status, Coretta Scott King deserves individual and singular monuments that amplify her contributions to Civil Rights. She was more than a wife, mother, and concert singer. I want to introduce young learners to a fighting, bad-tempered girl, who evolved. Ultimately, she found her calling as a prophet to the nations, an ambassador for non-violence, and a civil rights strategist. It was Coretta with her singular vision, who organized a plan and made Dr. King an indelible hero in our collective imagination. Martin called her “Corrie.” Corrie was a leader and visionary. Never one to swoon or surrender to defeat, Coretta used her voice for more than singing.

Alice Faye Duncan is the author of multiple children’s books, including Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop, which received a 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and five starred reviews, and Just Like Mama, which was nominated for the NAACP Image Award. Her most recent books include Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free, Evicted!, and Yellow Dog Blues.

R. Gregory Christie is a recipient of the Caldecott Honor, a winner of the NAACP Image award, and a six-time Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award honoree. His recent Calkins Creek books include Answering the Cry for Freedom by Gretchen Woelfle, which won the Carter G. Woodson Book Award, and Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop by Alice Faye Duncan, which received six starred reviews and for which Christie received the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. He also designed the art on the US Postal Service’s 2013 Kwanzaa stamp.


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