01/15/01
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    by John Cech

It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day today, a time for tributes to this remarkable leader and peace-maker. One of the forms those tributes has taken is in the dozens of books for children and young people that have appeared in recent years to honor Dr. King's life and memory. Here's just a sampling of some of the many books that are available at your local library and bookstore.

For very young children, Peter and Connie Roop's picture book, Martin Luther King Jr. outlines the facts of Dr. King's life, from his childhood to his death, in simple language and with enough historical background for the young reader to begin to understand his significance in our society.

A much more thorough biography is to be found in Rosemary Bray's Martin Luther King, a large picture book that is illustrated with the folk art paintings of Malcah Zeldis. These extraordinary illlustrations are a vivid complement to the thoughtful text, that takes its time to tell the complex story of Dr. King's life.

Older children and adolescents will welcome the detail and substance that they're hungry for in The Life and Death of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Jim Haskins -- a painstakingly researched, richly layered, and compelling study of Dr. King's life and legacy by a writer who has been called "the unofficial biographer of Black America."

The well-known artist, Faith Ringgold's, My Dream of Martin Luther King is the most personal and unusual of these books. It is the least factual , but it is in search of a different order of accuracy and truth -- the subjective truth that inspires artists and that inhabits our memories. What Ms. Ringgold got so right in the language and images of her unique portrayal of him is that Dr. King is as much a part of the mythical dream life of this country as he is of its recent, turbulent history. And as he told us in the summer of 1963, it is the dreams that will move mountains and that will create a just and beautiful society.

Copyright 2001 by John Cech

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Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 22:23:32 EDT


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