One Million Men and Me

One Million Men and Me 

Kelly Starling Lyons, Author

Peter Ambush, Illustrator

Just Us Books, Inc., 2007, Historical fiction

Suitable for:  Kindergarten and up  (Ages 5 nd up)

OpeningMy cousin, Omari, said no girls were allowed.  But Daddy took me.  Our bus rumbled through ebony night.  My head snuggled into Daddy’s warm chest until pink rose around us and the driver called, “Washington, D.C.”   A father takes his daughter, Nia, on a long bus trip to take part in a march with one million men.  They walked peacefully, sang songs and “stood tall and proud as mighty oaks, the men, Daddy and me.”  They listened to speakers like Maya Angelou, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Minister Louis Farrakhan.  Everyone held hands in unity.  Nia notices that their faces were filled with pride and their hearts filled with hope.  Everyone seemed to know everyone as they all nodded, smiled and hugged each other.  At the reflecting pool Nia makes a wish.  She will never forget the day her daddy took her on a journey where she made history with one million men.

Why I like this story:  This story is about one special day, Oct. 16, 1995, when a generation of one million African-American men made history.  A generation of proud men committed to make changes for themselves and their communities.  They peacefully gathered at the Lincoln Memorial garnering the attention of the media worldwide.  Among them was the author, who covered the story as a journalist.  In the sea of men, Kelly spotted a father gripping his daughter’s hand near the Reflecting Pool.  “She walked like a little princess among kings,” said Kelly.  This one little girl inspired Kelly to tell  this momentous occasion through Nia’s eyes.  The story is poetic and heartwarming, the illustrations are bold and beautiful, befitting of the occasion.  The children who will read this book today, weren’t even born.  One Million Men and Me is an excellent classroom book.

Activity:  You can learn more about the history of the  Million Men March in the back story at the end of the book, and by visiting Kelly Starling Lyons website.  The author also has a classroom guide with discussion questions and activities and printable coloring pages and other materials.  On Martin Luther King Day participate in a  walk or activity in your community.

For more books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.