His oldest son remembers the civil rights leader with affection and pride.
Called Marty as a child, Martin Luther King III spent his childhood learning difficult lessons about segregation, jail and protest marches. He and his sister were eager to go to an amusement park until their parents finally told them that it was only for white people. When he and his brother received toy guns for Christmas, they were told that guns are destructive weapons and watched as their parents burnt them in a bonfire. In the third grade, the author reluctantly integrated a school and faced taunts, relatively mild in the book, as the only African-American in his class. As importantly, Dr. King was a loving and playful father to his children. Adults sharing this title with young readers can make a connection between the words of Dr. King’s landmark “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28th, 1963, and their own family memories. Ford’s full-page color paintings bring to mind photographs of the period in their depiction of family scenes and civil rights marches. Final art not seen.
An effective title to introduce young readers to Dr. King’s message of peace and equal rights; though it’s hardly the only picture book about the slain leader, the child’s-eye view is a valuable one. (afterword) (Picture book/biography 4-7)