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I See the Promised Land

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  108 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
"Both evocative and factually rich...Older teens, in addition to adults, will find this to be a standout both as a distinctive graphic narrative that combines two world storytelling traditions and as an examination of King’s life and its enduring legacy across the globe." -Booklist Starred Review

"What excites me most here is how this approach can be used to reconnect the
Hardcover, 142 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Tara Books
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Jul 31, 2011 Mza rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: champagne for my real friends
Recommended to Mza by: Nobody
Shelves: 2010
This collaboration between an English professor at Syracuse University, an Indian scroll painter, and an Italian designer caught my eye at the library for its conceptual and visual oddity. I can count on one hand the number of painterly comix that really work for me -- Brecht Evens' The Wrong Place, Jerry Moriarty's comix, some of Lynda Barry's stuff ... It's not that containing lines with colours added later are comix's one true form, it's just that that form lent itself most easily to the divi ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Nov 26, 2013 Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book; it's a fantastic example of cross-cultural collaboration resulting in a vibrant, absorbing look at a topic most people might think they're already familiar. Indeed, if you've read a couple of biographies of MLK - and I haven't - I suppose all of this will be familiar. But modern griot/storyteller Arthur Flowers' evocative text, filled with the same kinds of scriptural and incantatory cadences that made MLK's speeches so powerful, but in a more laconic, folksy idiom, raises the ...more
Read for Librarian Book Group
I would not recommend this to elementary-aged children, nor middle school and I would be leery of recommending it to high school students because I think some parents would have a problem with the content. I found the prose style distracting at first, but it grew on me as the book went on. I found the artistic depiction of women throughout the book to be sexist and somewhat offensive. Was it necessary to draw protruding nipples on all of the women including Rosa Park
Aug 05, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an oddly beautiful cross-cultural graphic novel that presents the life of Martin Luther King Jr. It's a powerful story made more powerful with stark descriptions and casual, slangy prose that is mixed with brightly colored Patua-inspired art.
Feb 02, 2015 Jeana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Interesting merging of Patua and Southern Storytelling to become a graphic novel.
Jan 02, 2017 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This unique and fascinating look at Martin Luther King Jr. and the history that proved his resistance was necessary should be required reading in every junior high school. When we forget history, we repeat it. This book talks about his legacy- something MLK Jr thought about a lot. Reading this book and wondering how much more needs to be changed is the very first and basict step every student can take to ensuring MLK Jr.'s actions were not in vain.
Jan 24, 2017 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The style is unlike any other graphic novel I've read so it took me a minute to find the rhythm but once I did it was great. What a wonderful way to express the life of MLK Jr and the Civil Rights Movement. Also, I should probably read up on Patua art.
Bhanu Pratap Singh Tanwar
For the graphics
Tom Romig
Dec 30, 2016 Tom Romig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully illustrated and insightful telling of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Arthur Flowers's nuanced and moving account is graphically enhanced by the drawings of Patua artist Manu Chitrakar, with the clever design of Guglielmo Rossi melding words and art. As it turns out, the work of Manu Chitraker, scroll artist from Bengal, casts the epic life in a fresh and striking manner.
Oct 15, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a unique book, a graphic novel really--a combination of African American storytelling and the artwork of India. Flowers is a master of the black folk tradition of US, taking on the traditional mantel of the African poet as a spiritual leader and teacher. In "I See the Promised Land," Flowers uses his blues-folk style to tell the story of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as an elder speaking to his community. It is as captivating as it is effective.

Removing Dr. King's story from the
Oct 27, 2011 Philip rated it it was amazing
This was an interesting collaboration, mixing the story with the patua art (of which, till this point, I knew nothing...)

King really was a visionary, and a radical. Towards the end of the book it was mentioned, "Last Martin Luther King Day, President Obama suggest it be one of service. Course now, King far more radical than MLK Day suggest." I appreciated that there, and throughout the book. So often people get so thoroughly used for political purposes, the true/factual person is lost. (Such is
Using expressive and vibrant Patua scroll painting techniques and a rollicking, distinctive voice that shows the author's unique perspective on the civil rights struggle, this graphic novel reveals the complexity of the movement as well as the inner struggles with which civil rights leader Martin Luther King contended. Although some readers may be disconcerted by the lack of correct grammar in some of the lines, it seems to work here and be an appropriate part of the spoken word that fills the b ...more
Aug 25, 2016 Ana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2014 Skip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Jayaprakash Satyamurthy for his excellent review. A most interesting collaboration between a black author, writing in the style of a West African storyteller (griot) and an Bengalese Patua scroll painter, brought together masterfully by Italian designer, Guglielmo Rossi. Visually different from other graphic novels because of the Patua style, author Arthur Flowers describes the life and struggles of Martin Luther King, Jr. I did not particularly like the dialect, but Flowers tells it v ...more
An intriguing mix of style and story design. The visual elements are bold and distinct and structured. The text is lyrical and rhythmic and succeeds at translating a typically oral story into a written, handheld one. The style and rhythm takes a bit of getting used to, but is very effective. I also appreciated the frank look at King's flaws and failures even while singing his virtues and achievements to the sky.

Interestingly, this reminded me very much of Hamilton in its cross-cultural, univers
A fascinating biography of Martin Luther King Jr. that covers the life and times King was born into, raised in, and events he had an influential hand in. Text is written in an oral storytelling fashion, rich with dialect.

Artwork is done in the style of scroll painters which gives the story the feel that it has been handed down from generation to generation.

This isn't an introductory title on King, rather one to read when you are well read on the subject. Overall, an incredibly moving work that
I love the bold style of this book. The interspersing of Patua art and intense lettering make for a very powerful rendition of MLK's life & legacy.

From the inside cover:
"Arthur Flowers tells a masterful story in musical prose based on griot oral storytelling traditions, not merely recounting events, but bringing his own perspective to them. Complementing the text, Manu Chitraker carries the tale into the vivid idiom of Patua art, turning King's historic journey into a truly universal legacy
Erin Sterling
3.5 stars. A lyrical and beautifully illustrated book about Martin Luther King that begs to be read aloud. While it doesn't seem like it would be high-level because of the pictures and almost comic-book style, it blends talk of Fate and Destiny and side commentary with historical facts and details in a seamless way that requires a lot of inference on the part of readers. Unique and fascinating, and occasionally a bit jarring.
Jun 27, 2014 Miriam rated it it was amazing
Stunningly beautiful,insightful and poetic this unusual treatment of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. combines the griot-like storytelling talents of Arthur flowers with the richly symbolic art of Bengali artist Manu Chitrakar. I can't adequately describe how gorgeous and affecting the combination is.
I am trying to figure out if Manu Chitrakar has any relation to Moyna Chitrakar, the Patua scroll artist of Sita's Ramayana. The styles are similar as is the overall presentation of each graphic novel. Anyone out there in Goodreadsland have any information?
Edward Sullivan
One of the most distinctive portraits of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King I have ever seen with stunning illustrations by a Bengali artist and a poetic narrative that captures nuances of African storytelling traditions. Not suitable as an introduction to King but a wonderfully unique presentation.
Nov 22, 2012 Clare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not generally a graphic novel reader. I'm not that visual, and if I see a page of images and little to no text I skip over it. But I made myself slow down and read this, and I reminded myself that it was written by a bluesman and tried to hear it in that way. Really powerful art, and text like poetry. I would love to see this as a performance of some sort.
Mar 07, 2015 Chrissy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel blends two styles of story telling to following the life of Dr. King and his message, the road away from being a second class citizen is a long one. With a powerful message and art style, this come together and makes "I See the Promised Land" a core addition to any art or biography collection.
May 16, 2011 Shaun rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
African-American writer, an Indian artist, and Italian designer make this graphic unique. Re-relling the story of Martin Luther King, his life and struggles, told in traditional Indian artwork. This makes his story universal, and multi-cultural and appealing to everyone. Great sequential art in its highest form.
Lisa Cline
Jun 04, 2011 Lisa Cline rated it really liked it
I really liked this overview of MLK's political life. I was not getting the who "gods" and "fa" thing and was sad to learn that he was human and had his failings (though don't we all). But it was good overall and I like the pictures though many broke my heart.
Definitely a unique way of telling Dr. King's story. Appreciated the artwork and storytelling tradition of another culture, but would say the style of the artwork is not highly appealing to me. Nonetheless the design and story is compelling.
Mar 21, 2016 Tessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful and interesting mix of cultures. I would've liked to see more representation and illustrations of women - it was almost entirely men frame to frame.
Jan 31, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not your typical "graphic novel". Read this just before going to see "Selma" - actually helped put some of the events of the movie into context.
A fair graphic novel. The Patua art/graphics are novel and really interesting. The story as told isn't as strong as some other graphic representations of King and Civil Rights that I've read lately.
A beautiful book!

Learn more about writer Arthur Flowers in his interview for Words With Writers:
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Author discusses project in YouTube Video 1 4 Mar 01, 2011 02:24PM  

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