Angela Farris Watkins, PhD., Author
Sally Wern Comport, Illustrator
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Nonfiction, Jan. 6, 2015
Suitable for Ages: 6-11
Themes: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Beliefs, Courage, Equality, Love, Nonviolence, Tolerance
Opening: ‘Martin Luther King Jr. is recognized as one of the greatest men in history. I’m proud to say that he was also my uncle.”
Publisher Synopsis: The niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. reveals six timeless and universal principles that encompass the civil rights leader’s greatest legacy: Love will see you through. Growing up as the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Farris Watkins witnessed firsthand the principles and values that “Uncle M.L.” practiced and lived by throughout his fight for equality. Drawing from experiences and episodes both personal and well-known, Dr. Watkins artfully details the guiding beliefs of one of the greatest men in history. Including “have courage” and “love your enemies,” these six hallmarks of virtue and nonviolence reinforce the truth that “the universe honors love” and will inspire readers of all ages.
Why I like this book:
- Dr. Angela Farris Watkins’ book is heartfelt and compelling. She shares with children the guiding beliefs that her uncle lived every day of his life.
- The six beliefs are universal, inspirational and very easy for children to understand: Face adversity with Courage; Love your enemies; Fight the problem not the person who caused it; When innocent people are hurt, others are inspired to help; Resist violence of any kind; and the Universe honors love.
- Watkins uses real events in King’s life (the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the burning of his home, protesting segregation in Birmingham in 1963, his letter from the Birmingham jail, the voter registration drive in Selma) to emphasize the importance of how her uncle acted upon his beliefs of love and nonviolence. Her narrative is powerful and conversational.
- Comport’s vivid double-page illustrations are strong and colorful mixed media collages that are compelling and capture the theme, tension and emotion of the book.
- The book is an inspiring and excellent choice for school children to discuss during this particularly turbulent time in our history. Children will grasp that his beliefs are applicable to most any situation in life.
Favorite Passage: “Uncle Martin was a man of peace. Love was his way of life. Uncle Martin’s six guiding beliefs teach us that love has power. His life was proof that…Love Will See You Through.”
Resources: Check out the National Education Association website for classroom activities, tools and resources for children K-5. Many schools and communities will sponsor activities and walks on Martin Luther Kind Day, January 19. This would also be a good book to compare with Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus.
Angela Farris Watkins, PhD, is the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. She is an associate professor of psychology at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Watkins is a certified trainer of Kingian Nonviolence, the principles and steps of social change espoused by her uncle. Her books for children include My Uncle Martin’s Words for America; and My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart.
Sally Wern Comport has illustrated many picture books and novels, including Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure; Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up on Mt. Rushmore; and the Spy Mice series.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.