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I’VE SEEN THE PROMISED LAND by Walter Dean Myers

I’VE SEEN THE PROMISED LAND

The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Walter Dean Myers (Author) , Leonard Jenkins (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-027703-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

Following up their portrait of Malcolm X (2000), Myers briefly traces Dr. King’s career, and Jenkins adds kaleidoscopic collages that both depict major incidents and figures of the Civil Rights movement, and capture the time’s turmoil. Dr. King certainly doesn’t lack for biographers, but Myers is unusually even-handed, highlighting King’s nonviolent philosophy while viewing the Movement’s angrier, more violent outbursts with a certain degree of—not sympathy, exactly, but understanding. Though Jenkins’s images are sometimes over the top, as when he outfits the four children killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing with angel wings, and Myers frequently slips paraphrased lines from Dr. King’s speeches into his narrative—“He said that he had been to the mountaintop and seen the promised land. He knew he might not reach that land . . . ”—the balance of fact and feeling makes this a strong follow-up to Doreen Rappaport’s Martin’s Big Words (2002). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)