Sunday, February 26, 2017

I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer - Book Review



 I am Martin Luther King, Jr.  


Author: Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by: Christopher Eliopoulos
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2mwLXBw
  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 0640 (What's this?)
  • Series: Ordinary People Change the World
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; First Edition/First Printing edition (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525428526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525428527

About the Book (Summary from Amazon): 

We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this New York Times Bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer.

Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it—peacefully, with powerful words. He helped gather people together for nonviolent protests and marches, and he always spoke up about loving other human beings and doing what’s right. He spoke about the dream of a kinder future, and bravely led the way toward racial equality in America. 

This lively, New York Times Bestselling biography series inspires kids to dream big, one great role model at a time. You’ll want to collect each book.


My Review: 

Lately, as a parent I have felt like a complete failure. The world is a complete mess, or so it feels that way. I cannot cope with all the hatred and violence. How could I possibly be expected to reassure my children that everything is going to be alright? 

A couple weeks ago, I hit a real low. It was a feeling of hopelessness kind of low. Nothing particularly bad had happened, but I felt like there was nothing I could do to help the people that were having very bad things happen to them. I not only felt this way, but my oldest daughter has been struggling with filtering though the world news. And then this magical thing happened...I came home from a particularly long day and discovered I am Martin Luther King, Jr. in my mailbox. That night when we sat down to read the book, I was transfixed with one particular page where Dr. King explains what he learned from the teachings of Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi.  It was a lesson of nonviolent resistance, a lesson of love and peace. I needed to hear this lesson as much as my children needed to hear it. 

The book can be difficult to read at times because it does not shy away from the truth about racism and injustice. It takes courage to step out of your own bubble and acknowledge the pain in others' lives.  My children, who both attend extremely culturally diverse schools, were shocked at the inequities demonstrated in the text and images. With my oldest daughter, we were able to engage in discussion of when she still recognizes racist behavior or inequities today. With my youngest daughter, we talked about how she should respond if she sees someone not being treated fairly. 

The book provides a joyous lesson in hope. It provides a lesson in refusing to give into hate and violence. These lessons are difficult to teach your children, but having a book as a guide helps tremendously. Books like this serve as conversation starters. 

The cartoon-like illustrations by Christopher Eliopoulos provide images that small children are naturally draw into viewing for long periods of time. This is important if you want to read a page and then discuss what the words mean. The illustrations also make difficult topics less scary. I remember taking Miss M to the King Center in Downtown Atlanta when she was only five, and some of the pictures that were at the King Center made her very upset because of their violent and graphic nature. This book provides the perfect balance of realism for the topic and palatable imagery to engage young minds. I look forward to reading many other books in this Ordinary People Change the World. 



FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the publisher free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book. **This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!

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