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Monday, January 19, 2015

Inspiring Children With A Dream -- Martin Luther King Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr.  inspired a nation to look within themselves and consider ways to change. As in, changing the way we  look at the world.  Changing the way we looked at each other .  Most of all changing the way we looked at ourselves.    His famous speech "I have a dream" still challenges us today to reach for the ideals of finding the goodness in all races.   In our collective memories of the man, there are images of a peaceful, strong leader who wanted nothing more than to see that everyone  in the America would be treated equally and fairly.  His words reminds every person, old and young alike, that the dream of every parent is the same regardless of race or culture.  Every parent wants their chid to grow up in a world where they can prosper and grow according to their character and talent.  That every child could find their passion and pursue the American dream.

There are many books for children about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but one that stands out as unique is written by his son Martin Luther King III.  It's simply titled,  My Daddy : Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..   This perspective is not only thought provoking for children but also for adults.   This intimate portrait gives a glimpse into the family life of this great legend.  It cause the reader to ponder on what it must have been like for a small young boy to see his father arrested for speaking his mind?  What was it like to watch the news reports about his father's work?  What it is like to remember his father now.   It's a somber look but also touching.  Mr. King describes these memories an eloquent style  that is similar to his father.  This book is  a tribute to his larger than life father but it seemingly bursts with  pride and love that this son still has for his dad.  The family man, who did great things for his country with the hope that he was making the world a better place for his children.

Librarians might shy away from a story time with a Martin Luther King Jr. theme.  For that matter, parents may find it a little awkward to read books about this legend.   In reality there many titles that fit well with this theme that there is no need to worry if there is a "perfect" book to be found.  Everything from preschool biography titles to Mr. King's personal view of his father.  Each have a unique viewpoint that will capture a young audience's attention.  As demonstrated in the photo at the top of this post,  the title list does not have to solely rely on biography titles.   Titles such as One by Kathryn Otoshi works well with it's inspiring message that One person does and can make a difference.

As a nation, it is good to remember and honor our heroes.    This is a good opportunity to teach the young ones about the men and women who have contributed to our country's rich history.   There's no better way to introduce children to heroes than by reading books written about them.  Let's face it, every child should have the opportunity to be inspired  by the words, "I have a dream.... "  It's never too early, it's never to late either.


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