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My Uncle Martin's Big Heart Hardcover – September 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Angela was only about four when her uncle was killed, but she remembers that while he had to be gone a lot, he enjoyed spending time with his family when he was home and sent telegrams when he was away. She also recalls his frequent visits to her family's house, including one in which he fell asleep on their couch with his shoes on--something she was never allowed to do! And she has fond recollections of his keen sense of humor and contagious laughter. But her most special memories are the times in church when she would come out of Sunday school and her uncle would be standing in line to greet people, but she would run to him and he would step aside to pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss. My Uncle Martin's Big Heart, illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award Winner Eric Velasquez, provides a unique glimpse into the private life of Martin Luther King Jr., emphasizing his love for his family, his love for his fellow man, and his love for God. I found it enlightening and inspiring.
The author's voice used throughout the book is Angela herself as a young girl (although a bit older than she actually was at the time), and although she is aware of her uncle as a great leader and an American hero, she concentrates on the man she knew as Uncle M.L., the family's special nickname for him. We see a man who loved to laugh and make others laugh, who loved to spend time with his family, and who although he worked very long hours, managed to find time not only for his own immediate family, but for his nieces and nephews as well! We even see Uncle M.L. spread out sleeping on Angela's family sofa with his shoes on, obviously a big no-no in the house, but OK for uncle M.L., since he was so tired from his hard work.Angela also talks about Uncle M.L. the preacher and his great voice, and there's a delightful depiction of one of her favorite memories of her uncle, where she would run up to him after he finished on the pulpit for a great big hug, dressed in her "very best church dress."
In the end, the author emphasizes that Uncle M. L.'s big heart full of love was what made him so special--his love not only for his family, but for America. In an author's note, she writes: "I wrote this book so that children could get to know Martin Luther King Jr. the way I knew him when I was a child, through his love...Read more ›