Date: December 23, 2003
it at Amazon
Children’s – Nonfiction – Biographies
– People of Color/Social Activists
Notes: Reviewer, Kristin Johnson just released her second
book, CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE FOR GIVING, co-written with Mimi
Cummins, in October 2003. Her third book, ORDINARY MIRACLES:
My Incredible Spiritual, Artistic and Scientific Journey, co-written
with Sir Rupert A.L. Perrin, M.D., is now available from PublishAmerica.
Seen the Promised Land
of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Walter Dean Myers
(illustrated by Leonard Jenkins)
Does the world really need another
book about Martin Luther King Jr.? As long as our gotta-have-it-now-angry-hip-hop
world leads our young people to the streets, yes. Coretta Scott
King award winner Walter Dean Myers opens I’VE SEEN THE PROMISED
LAND with illustrator Leonard Jenkins’ soulful image of Vietnam
War college protesters and this statement about Dr. King:
“Dr. King had been invited to
Memphis, Tennessee, where sanitation workers were on strike. He
was tired, but he felt he had to offer his support. Dr. King could
not enjoy his own good fortune, even though he had worked hard for
it, as long as there was poverty anywhere in the world.”
Nor, Myers articulates through Dr.
King’s story and the saga of the civil rights movement, could
the legendary “I Have a Dream”-er give up as long as
his people still struggled against barriers of color, ignorance
Another remarkable American, Bill
Cosby, made a powerful statement of his own in May, during the fiftieth
anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education (also covered in Dean
Myers’ book.) Education supporter Cosby, speaking at a Washington
D.C. gala dinner, then at Stanford University, denounced the black
dropout rate, blaming some black parents and teachers for not encouraging
education. Dean Myers’ book states that Dr. King, the son
of a respected Atlanta minister, “worked hard in school”
despite a segregated society. While many parents admit that, fifty
years later, Cosby’s words have truth, they also point out
that their kids face racial barriers.
Tell that to Dr. King, who “could
not enjoy his own good fortune” and refused to take advantage
of urban kids buying gangsta rap. Cosby, at the D.C. gala, denounced
today’s parents by saying, “These people are not parenting.
They are buying things for kids -- $500 sneakers for what? And won't
spend $200 for `Hooked on Phonics.' '' (San Jose Mercury News, April
Meanwhile, in Dean Myers’ book,
King went to jail, not for stealing sneakers, but for his principles.
Yes, our kids need another book about Dr. King to help them see
that Promised Land.