This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brings his life and the profound nature of his message to young children through his own words.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential and gifted speakers of all time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell the story of his life and his work in a simple, direct way. Bryan Collier''s stunning collage art combines remarkable watercolor paintings with vibrant patterns and textures. A timeline and a lsit of additional books and web sites help make this a standout biography of Dr. King.
In this elegant pictorial biography of Martin Luther King Jr., author Doreen Rappaport combines her spare, lyrical text with King''s own words for an effective, age-appropriate portrayal of one of the world''s greatest civil rights leaders. From King''s youth, when he looked up to his preacher father and vowed one day to "get big words, too," to his death at a garbage workers'' strike ("On his second day there, he was shot. He died."), Rappaport imbues the story with reverence.
Acclaimed artist Bryan Collier depicts his subject with stunning watercolor and collage illustrations, balancing glorious recreations of stained glass windows with some of the more somber images of peace marchers and the famous bus that pitched Rosa Parks into the civil rights movement. A brief chronology and bibliography provide additional resources for readers. Here is an exquisite tribute to a world hero. (Ages 4 and older) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
This picture-book biography provides an ideal introduction to this leader and his works. Juxtaposing original text with quotes from King''s writing and speeches, Rappaport''s (Escape from Slavery) narrative offers a pastiche of scenes from King''s life, beginning with his childhood experience of seeing "White Only" signs sprinkled throughout his hometown. He questions his mother about their meaning, and she assures him, "You are as good as anyone." Listening to his father preach, the boy asserts that "When I grow up, I''m going to get big words, too." Rappaport also touches upon King''s role in the Montgomery bus strike that followed Rosa Park''s 1955 arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger and his subsequent efforts as a civil rights crusader. After briefly describing the circumstances of his death, the story concludes, quite abruptly, with the statement, "His big words are alive for us today." The author relies on her subject''s own words, and his power, passion and pacifism shine through. Collier''s (Uptown) striking watercolor and cut paper collage art feature closely focused, lifelike images of King and other individuals against an inventive montage of patterns and textures. The portraits of King exude his spiritual strength and peaceful visage. In the background of some scenes are intricate recreations of stained glass windows, which, Collier explains in an introductory note, he interprets as a metaphor for King''s life. An elegant, understated pictorial biography. Ages 5-9.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Collier combines his distinctive watercolor-and-collage art with Rappaport''s uncluttered text to sum up King''s life and work. Each two-page spread begins with a short paragraph about King and his crusade for civil rights, followed by a powerful sample of his own words set in oversized, boldface type. Both portions of the succinct text work together to emphasize the leader''s courage, commitment, and, ultimately, sacrifice without sensationalizing his death. King''s assassination during the 1968 Memphis garbage strike is summed up in just two short sentences: "On his second day there, he was shot. He died." The book concludes with a reassuring reminder that his words are immortal. Rappaport advises readers to use "Martin Luther King" as the search term to find more than 200 Web sites dedicated to King and the civil rights movement. Both author and illustrator preface the book with brief notes to explain specific aspects of King''s life and death that inspired them in their collaboration. The result is a stunning, reverent tribute.
Catherine Threadgill, DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta, GA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Ages 4-9. "Remember if I am stopped, this movement will not be stopped, because God is with this movement." Weaving in Dr. King''s own "big words," this inspiring picture-book biography celebrates the great leader as preacher and politician. Rappaport''s spare narrative captures the essentials of the man, the movement he led, and his policy of nonviolence. Only in the case of Rosa Parks is the glimpse too simplistic, presenting her as an individual who refused to give up her seat on the bus, rather than as the political activist she was. Collier''s collage art is glorious. Combining cut-paper, photographs, and watercolor he expresses his own Christian faith and King''s power "to make many different things one." Stained glass windows are the dominant images, not only in the many church scenes, but also in the play of shape, light, and color in the realistic views of the city. With powerful art and pulsing words ("He walked with them and talked with them and sang with them and prayed with them"), this is a fine book to share and read aloud many times.
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"Beginning with the startling cover, which contains only the face of Martin Luther King Jr., with his smile broad, and his eyes crinkled in laughter, this title intrigues. It’s an homage in words and pictures, in which the author weaves King’s words with her own to present a brief but stately portrait of the American hero....Readers will hear [King''s] voice echo in this presentation."―
“Weaving in Dr. King’s own “big words,” this inspiring picture book biography celebrates this great leader as preacher and politician. Rappaport’s sparse narrative captures the essentials of the man, the Civil Rights movement he led, and his policy of non-violence. This is a great book to read aloud many times.”―
“A stunning, reverent tribute.” ―
School Library Journal
About the Author
Doreen Rappaport has written numerous award-winning books for children, including
Freedom Ship and
The School Is Not White (both illustrated by Curtis James);
Martin''s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book illustrated by Bryan Collier; and
John''s Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon, also illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Bryan Collier''s first book,
Uptown, published in 2000, received a Coretta Scott King (CSK) Illustrator Award, as well as an Ezra Jack Keats Award. The same year,
Freedom River, which he illustrated, received a CSK Illustrator Honor Award. He is the illustrator of
Martin''s Big Words, for which he received his first Caldecott Honor Award and a CSK Honor Award. He received his second Caldecott Honor Award in 2006, as well as another CSK Award for
Rosa, written by Nikki Giovanni. He is also a
New York Times bestseller with
Barack Obama, written by Nikki Grimes, which reached the #1 spot in picture books during its 20 weeks on the list and received a 2009 NAACP Image Award for Best Children’s Book, and has illustrated many other acclaimed, award-winning titles.