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My Brother Martin: a Sister Remembers Growing Up With the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

by Christine King Farris, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet Simon & Schuster, January 2003 $16.95, ISBN 0-689-84387-9

Every January on Martin Luther King Jr Day, broadcasts of the civil rights leader's "I Have a Dream," speech resound across the nation. Dr. King's accomplishments as a man are well known, but his experiences as a young boy are what inspired him to speak out against the unfair treatment of African Americans. In the picture book biography My Brother Martin, Dr. King's older sister Christine King Farris shares how her little brother grew up to become a beloved champion of civil rights.

The wonderfully moving story begins in Atlanta, where Christine, Martin and their youngest brother Alfred were born. Life is as normal as it can be in the segregated South. Young Martin and his siblings play checkers and Monopoly, take piano lessons and pull pranks on adults. They also hang out with the children of their white neighbors. ("The thought of not playing with those kids because they were different ... never entered our minds.") When the white kids unexpectedly announce to Martin and his brother that they can no longer play with Negroes, Martin is heartbroken. Inspired by the words of his outspoken pastor and father and ever-hopeful mother, the child proclaims, "Mother Dear, one day I'm going to turn this world upside down." The text fast forwards to the latter years of Dr. King's life, as he leads civil rights marches and protests, and eventually shares his inspirational dream of racial equality with the nation.

Chris Soentpiet's realistic and greatly detailed illustrations of the King family at home, in church and at play pull the reader into the story. Mrs. Farris' family and friends were used as the models for the personalities in the book. For young readers, My Brother Martin is an exceptional story about an ordinary boy who became an extraordinary man.
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Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Jones, Lynda
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:313
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