Saturday, April 3, 2010

Book Review (Kids): My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., by Christine King Farris

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by Christine King Farris and illustrated by Chris Soentpiet

"Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
In the name of love!
What more in the name of love?"   
"Pride (In the Name of Love)", U2

At the beginning of this beautiful picture book, Christine King Farris invites the reader into her family circle. 

"Gather round and listen as I share childhood memories of my brother, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am his older sister and I've known him longer than anyone else. I knew him long before the speeches he gave and the marches he led and the prizes he won.  I even knew him before he first dreamed the dream that would change the world."

Christine gives her reader a glimpse of a close-knit family where the kids practiced piano and played practical jokes, all during a time when "certain places in our country had unfair laws that said it was right to keep black people separate because our skin was darker ..."   Still, despite the times, their Atlanta neighborhood was one where all kids played together, regardless of race.

"The thought of not playing with those kids because they were different, because they were white and we were black, never entered our minds."

Before long, the King children learned about injustice when their friends suddenly weren't allowed to play with them anymore.  Christine writes about how her brother Martin (known as M.L.) "looked up into our mother's face and said the words I remember to this day.  He said, 'Mother Dear, one day I'm going to turn this world upside down.'" 

My Brother Martin doesn't go into King's assassination at all, instead focusing on his formidable years and the importance of family and standing up for what one believes in.  It's told in simple language, with gorgeous illustrations. I think it speaks to kids at a time when they might be realizing that their friends are of different ethnic backgrounds or of a different race. It reinforces the message that we're all equal, that even though someone might look different, they enjoy many of the same things.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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