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My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

by Christine King Farris

Other authors: Chris Soentpiet (Illustrator)

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1,2213915,027 (4.21)5
Looks at the early life of Martin Luther King, Jr., as seen through the eyes of his older sister.

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
This book is recommended for intermediate students. This book depicts the life of MLK through his sister's lens. In my future classroom, I would use this book to show why MLK and the civil rights movement as a whole took the steps forward they had to. ( )
  Noahkunkel | Feb 27, 2023 |
This book tells the story of Martin Luther King Junior as his sister remembers his life and the hardships of their life growing up African American in America during the time of separation. This heart wrenching story gives you insight to the childhood that Dr. King had and the prejudice he faced. I would recommend this read aloud to older third or fourth graders. ( )
  AriaStewart | Feb 13, 2022 |
"In the years since his death, too many biographers of Martin Luther King Jr. have made him so much larger than life that to the current generation of children he has become more of an idealized heroic icon than a real person. By sharing her memories of their childhood, Farris has opened a window to show Martin as a small boy in a loving extended family, a sometime prankster, protected for a while from the harsh reality of racism. When that reality became impossible to ignore, he and his brother and sister have the example of the strong faith, the encouragement, and the strength of their parents to guide them. Young Martin promises his mother that he will be an agent for change, that he will one day “turn this world upside down.” Farris tells the story simply and gently, remembering Martin as her little brother and as the man who indeed turned the world upside down. Soenpiet’s (Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor, p. 1628, etc.) watercolors are both meticulous in their detail and beautifully expressive of the family’s emotions. Farris’s afterword, graced by childhood photos of Martin, further explains her need to share these memories. A poem by Mildred D Johnson, written in 1968, is included as a reminder that all children have the potential for greatness. A very welcome addition to the King story. (illustrator note) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
  CDJLibrary | Nov 2, 2021 |
Christine King Farris shares some of her childhood experiences with her famous brother, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in this lovely work of picture-book biography. From the mischievous fun that she and her two brothers, M.L. (Martin Luther) and A.D. (Alfred Daniel) would get up to together, to the role of their grandparents in helping to raise them, this is a book full of family love. It is also a book about the injustice of segregation, which made itself felt early in the lives of the King children, growing up in Atlanta, Georgia. In a particularly poignant anecdote, Farris describes how she and her brothers would play with all the local children, including the sons of a white storeowner, until they were separated by race. She goes on to describe how her brother worked throughout his life to "turn this world upside down," challenging the evils of racism and segregation, to build a world where all are treated justly, and where all children can play together, regardless of race...

After finding Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier's Martin's Big Words such a deeply flawed book (see my review for more details), I have recently been thinking about which other picture-books about Martin Luther King, Jr. I would recommend in its place. Last week was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the states, and I decided to request My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to honor the occasion. It came in a little late, but I am nevertheless very glad to have read it. Not only does it offer a unique perspective on the childhood of one of America's most celebrated sons, but it delivers where the Rappaport/Collier title fails, in embodying the ideals of its subject matter. Given that this is a book which focuses on King's youth, and is in turn meant for the young, I thought the depiction of how racial segregation effected young people and their friendships was particularly on point. The story involving the erstwhile white friends of the King children was terribly sad, but the conclusion of the book, showing a black and white child running together hand in hand, offers hope, as well as a celebration of the changes that have occurred in American society. I really appreciated this approach, and think it makes for a wonderfully child-centered narrative about King and his vision.

When I think of the toxic discourse surrounding race that is becoming ever more common in some progressive circles these days - Ekow N. Yankah's recent New York Times editorial questioning whether it was possible for his children to have white friends springs to mind, in this regard - I also think this book highlights how far we have fallen from that vision. Still, the dream is not lost, and hope spring eternal. Farris' book is one that celebrates and promulgates that dream, and is one I would wholeheartedly recommend to any picture-book readers seeking titles about MLK. Not only is it both educational and well-told, it features lovely artwork from illustrator Chris Soentpiet. For my part, I think I will keep on exploring the picture-books about Martin Luther King, Jr. that are available, to build up a body of works that I can recommend, in this area. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jan 26, 2021 |
This book was already something I wanted to read because it was about Martin Luther King Jr. Reading the point of view of her sister for a child's perspective. It shows his compassion to change the words and also their experiences growing up to make a difference. ( )
  rferia | Nov 6, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christine King Farrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Soentpiet, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Looks at the early life of Martin Luther King, Jr., as seen through the eyes of his older sister.

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This is a GREAT story told by the sister of M.L.K Jr. about growing up with a brother who changed history.
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