From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2–King's remembrance of his father is an intimate introduction to the civil rights leader, revealing happy family moments as well as fear and personal pain amid the turbulence engulfing the nation in the 1960s. Kids will enjoy and perhaps identify with the playful interactions between “Marty” and his dad, who would put his son on top of the refrigerator and then catch him in his arms. Contrasting such warm memories are those of the King children hearing on the radio about their father's arrest and enduring bigotry at their new, integrated school. King's son is frank about the ugly clashes of the Civil Rights Movement, but he writes about them in an age-appropriate manner. The style is simple and conversational, as though the author were chatting with readers, reinforcing the personal spirit of the book. His effort to share some of the legendary leader's life as a private citizen makes his father approachable and real, a nice beginning to the relationship students will have with the influential man in their American history classes. It also provides an important firsthand account of the agony and frustration of prejudice experienced by many African American families. Ford's artwork is laudable, but in some illustrations, the heads of Dr. King and his wife are disproportionately large and oddly rendered. Overall, though, the forthrightness of Ford's palette and technique complement the text.–Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, ARα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This picture-book biography, written by the second child of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., offers an intimate portrait of his father and some family stories from their unusual household. In the opening scene, his father explains to Marty and his sister that their family won’t be going to Funtown because it’s for white people only. Later, Marty avoids identifying himself to other kids because he bears his father’s controversial name. One Christmas, he and his brother are given toy guns, but in keeping with their family’s values, they burn the guns in a bonfire. The story ends on a high note, with King and his sister entering a newly desegregated school. An appended page acknowledges his father’s death (when Marty was 10 years old) and appreciates his ongoing legacy. The figures look awkward in some of the paintings, but Ford illustrates many scenes effectively and captures likenesses of individuals. Clearly written, the book has an obviously unique persepctive, and it offers insights into the period as well as King’s family life. Grades K-3. --Carolyn Phelan