Monday, January 21, 2013

Picture Book Monday - A review of I have a Dream


Today Americans remember the life of one of our greatest citizens: Martin Luther King Jr. He was born on January 15th in 1929, and was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. gave many powerful and moving speeches in his lifetime, but probably the most famous one is the speech he gave in Washington, D.C on August 28, 1963. On that day he told thousands of people about his hopes and dreams, and in today's picture book his beautiful words are paired with Kadir Nelson's artwork to give readers of all ages a memorable book experience. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Nonfiction Picture book and Audio CD
For ages 6 and up
Random House, 2012, 978-0-375-85887-1
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stood in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C. In front of him was a sea of people, people of many races and followers of many faiths.  He had been working as an activist and leader in the African-American struggle for civil rights for many years, and leading “The Great March on Washington” was a big moment for King and his cause.
   King took on the cause of the civil rights movement in 1955 when he led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and in subsequent years King’s family members were threatened and he was thrown in jail. Supported by his faith, his followers, and his belief in his cause, he managed to overcome his fears and concerns to lead his people in peaceful marches, boycotts, demonstrations, and sit ins.
   King began his famous speech on that hot August day by talking about how the Negro in America was still not free, despite Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and despite the fact that the Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal.”
   Later in the speech he shifted his focus and said “I have a dream…” and he told his listeners all about this powerful dream, his hopes for all Americans.
   In this beautiful picture book the latter half of King’s memorable speech is shared with young readers. Two minor changes have been made, and one paragraph of the original speech has been left out, but otherwise King’s words have been left untouched.
   Accompanied by Kadir Nelson’s beautiful art, the text is as powerful today as it was all those years ago, and even young children will recognize the beauty in King’s words.
   At the back of the book readers will find a copy of the entire speech, and an audio recording of King giving his speech can be found on the CD that comes with the book.
   

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