The lives and legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank are drawn in parallel in this visually appealing picture book.
Born in the same year on different continents, Martin and Anne both faced discrimination from the time they were school aged. Peers who were former friends fell in line with laws and policies made by privileged groups of which they were not a part. “Whites only” signs and “No Jews allowed” signs; a speech competition and a diary; beginning college at 15 and learning about Ghandi, and writing about dreams for a better world—these experiences are illustrated in matching form on opposite sides of each spread. Martin grows up to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and his assassination at age 35 cannot silence his message; Anne’s life comes to an end at 15, but her legacy lives on when her diary is published and becomes a bestseller. While the ending is trite (“Love is stronger than hate. / Kindness can heal the world”), the journey through their lives and the effect of coupling their lasting impact are powerful. The art emphasizes the message of parallel experiences and changing worlds. With natural tones of green and brown and stylized faces and forms, the images don’t fall back on King’s iconic look, creating instead a fresh tapestry of landscapes and humanity.
A surprisingly successful and enlightening combination strengthened by striking artwork. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)