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I am Martin Luther King, Jr. (Ordinary People Change the World) Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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About the Author
Brad Meltzer is the New York Times Bestselling author of Heroes for My Son, Heroes for My Daughter, and a number of suspense novels for adults. He is also the host of the History Channel television shows Brad Meltzer’s Decoded and Lost History. He lives in Florida with his wife and their three children.
Christopher Eliopoulos began his illustration career as a letterer for Marvel, and has worked on thousands of comics, including Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, Pet Avengers, and Cow Boy, all of which he wrote and illustrated. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their identical twin sons.
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A couple weeks ago, I hit a real low. It was a feeling of hopelessness kind of low. Nothing particularly bad had happened, but I felt like there was nothing I could do to help the people that were having very bad things happen to them. I not only felt this way, but my oldest daughter has been struggling with filtering though the world news. And then this magical thing happened...I came home from a particularly long day and discovered I am Martin Luther King, Jr. in my mailbox. That night when we sat down to read the book, I was transfixed with one particular page where Dr. King explains what he learned from the teachings of Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi. It was a lesson of nonviolent resistance, a lesson of love and peace. I needed to hear this lesson as much as my children needed to hear it.
The book can be difficult to read at times because it does not shy away from the truth about racism and injustice. It takes courage to step out of your own bubble and acknowledge the pain in others' lives. My children, who both attend extremely culturally diverse schools, were shocked at the inequities demonstrated in the text and images. With my oldest daughter, we were able to engage in discussion of when she still recognizes racist behavior or inequities today. With my youngest daughter, we talked about how she should respond if she sees someone not being treated fairly.
The book provides a joyous lesson in hope. It provides a lesson in refusing to give into hate and violence. These lessons are difficult to teach your children, but having a book as a guide helps tremendously. Books like this serve as conversation starters.
The cartoon-like illustrations by Christopher Eliopoulos provide images that small children are naturally draw into viewing for long periods of time. This is important if you want to read a page and then discuss what the words mean. The illustrations also make difficult topics less scary. I remember taking Miss M to the King Center in Downtown Atlanta when she was only five, and some of the pictures that were at the King Center made her very upset because of their violent and graphic nature. This book provides the perfect balance of realism for the topic and palatable imagery to engage young minds. I look forward to reading many other books in this Ordinary People Change the World.
I received this book, free of charge, in exchange for a fair and honest review.