Thursday, January 11, 2007

Praiseworthy Book Review: My Brother Martin

For every holiday I get a stack of books out either from the library or my own personal collection. I leave them out so my kids can grab one for a free reading or I can read it to them. It's a great way to learn more about history and important people and events. I get this book every year at this time as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This book looks at the early life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the eyes of his older sister Christine King Farris. It’s a delightful glimpse of the simple life in the Sweet Auburn community of Atlanta, Georgia where the King family lived. Mrs. Farris talks about MLK from his birth sharing family stories and recreating the world of MLK’s early days. She shows us his family, a loving Christian father, mother, Grandfather and Grandmother that taught the children obedience and love. A world that formed him into the great man he would become.

This book touches on racism and is an excellent introduction to the topic of racism in America. My daughter loved it at 6 years old and at first didn’t believe that the America described was our United States of America. My Brother Martin was an excellent vehicle to start this discussion with her. The tragedy of his death is not described, but since I know the full story I found my eyes welling with tears several times during the reading.

The illustrations of the children’s early life are sentimental and sweet. The colors are brilliant and the style is realistic. When showing MLK later in life the images switch to black and white and are the familiar images seen frequently in books and on television. This is an excellent tool to help children connect MLK the iconic historical figure to a real boy that grew up to tell the world of his dream.
The first time we read this my then 4 year old son, 6 year old daughter and I loved it. The text makes you feel like you are at the knee of your own Grandmother and the illustrations are beautiful and make you want to linger over each page. It is a book we will read again and again.