One of the benefits of being married to an English teacher is that we have an abundance of books in our home. When E read in my blog that there were “not many” children’s books that address the Civil Rights Movement, she promptly located and placed in front of me three children’s books on this topic and three more that dealt with different aspects of African-American history. OK – maybe my “not many” was inaccurate.
In any event, I’ve enjoyed browsing through her collection.
My Brother Martin, written by Christine King Farris, is a wonderful book.
Since the author is MLK’s older sister, the book provides stories and perspectives that no one else could have written. The illustrations by Chris Soentpiet are wonderful. I recognized the neighborhood of King’s boyhood in the illustrations, having visited that home in Atlanta back in October. The most poignant part of the book is the page on which a young Martin said to his mother, “Mother Dear, one day I am going to turn this world upside down.” He had just been faced with an early taste of segregation as his neighbor-friends, who were white, had just told him that they were no longer allowed to play with him because he was black.
Another book that I have enjoyed is Rosa, written by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Bryan Collier. Collier’s illustrations won him a Caldecott Honor designation. This book tells Rosa Parks’ story in a clear, sensitive way that will effectively teach children of Mrs. Parks’ decision and the consequences that followed.
I’m grateful for my wife’s contribution to my learning, and I’m very grateful for these authors’ and illustrators’ contributions to the education of children on this important part of our history.