Don't Know Much About Martin Luther King Jr.

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Overview

When did King first encounter an integrated world? (see page 20)

How did he learn about nonviolent movements? (see page 53)

Why did King need so much paper in the Birmingham jail? (see page 88)

Best-selling author Kenneth C. Davis sheds light on the most prominent leader of the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. had big dreams about ending segregation and fervently advocated nonviolent protests. ...

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Overview

When did King first encounter an integrated world? (see page 20)

How did he learn about nonviolent movements? (see page 53)

Why did King need so much paper in the Birmingham jail? (see page 88)

Best-selling author Kenneth C. Davis sheds light on the most prominent leader of the Civil Rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr. had big dreams about ending segregation and fervently advocated nonviolent protests. Tragically, his life was cut short. Davis weaves a smooth, flowing narrative through his trademark question-and-answer format, peppering the text with informational sidebars and compelling quotes. Dramatic photographs and stirring black-and-white illustrations by Machiyo Kodaira reveal King's public courage and private fear, as well as the tumultuous times in which he lived.

Examines the childhood and youth, education, law career, family life, and presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Part of the "Don't Know Much About . . . " series, this biography is presented as a directed sequence of questions that lead the reader to understand the life and influence of Martin Luther King, Jr. While most suitable for ages eight to twelve, the format, language, and content is very useful for older readers as well. It would be an excellent choice for ESL students and adults. Learning about MLK's childhood lays the groundwork for understanding the influences that help mold him into the leader that he became during the Civil Rights movement. Davis discusses the difficult issues of racial prejudice and injustice with truth and tact, while giving lots of background history in informational sidebars. He uses many direct quotes from the people of the time, which gives validity to the narrative answers to specific questions. As the questions progress through the stages of this powerful leader's life, we learn about his fervent desire to end segregation through nonviolent protests. His interest in Gandhi's work in India greatly influenced his own approach to peaceful efforts for changing the segregation policies in the U. S. Black-and-white drawings enhance the text, a timeline gives important dates, and a detailed index makes this an excellent research resource. This title is a readily accessible introduction to the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr. 2006, HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.
—Sheilah Egan
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064421294
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/27/2005
  • Series: Don't Know Much About Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of A Nation Rising; America's Hidden History; and Don't Know Much About® History, which spent thirty-five consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, sold more than 1.6 million copies, and gave rise to his phenomenal Don't Know Much About® series for adults and children. A resident of New York City and Dorset, Vermont, Davis frequently appears on national television and radio and has been a commentator on NPR's All Things Considered. He blogs regularly at www.dontknowmuch.com.

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First Chapter

Chapter One

A Boy Named Slow

What was Sitting Bull like as a baby?

When he was born, his name wasn't Sitting Bull. Like most Lakota, Sitting Bull had more than one name during his life. A name says who someone is, so when you do something important or something important happens to you, your name changes.

Sitting Bull was named Jumping Badger when he was born, but soon people called him "Slow." The name wasn't an insult. It meant he was thoughtful, careful, and maybe a little stubborn.

"I was born on the Missouri River," Sitting Bull once said. "At least I recollect that somebody told me so." He doesn't remember what year he was born either. That was not important to the Lakota. Historians think he was born in 1831 or maybe later, in what is now Bullhead, South Dakota.

Were Sitting Bull's parents named Mr. and Mrs. Bull?

Slow's father was named Returns-Again-to-Strike-the-Enemy. He was a respected warrior who owned many horses. His mother was named Mixed-Day (later named Her-Holy-Door), and his older sister was named Many-Feathers. But a Lakota family wasn't just mom and dad and the kids. Slow called all his father's brothers and male cousins "father," too. His mother's sisters and women cousins were his "mothers." A Lakota family was big. And his whole big family was glad to have him. "A child is the greatest gift from Wakantanka [the Great Mysterious]," say the Lakota.

Where was Sitting Bull's home?

Sitting Bull lived in his mother's tipi (women owned the tipis), but "home" was his big family and a few other families they traveled with. They would meet up with other Lakota for part ofthe summer. In the coldest part of winter, they would choose one place to camp. The rest of the year they followed the buffalo herds. Not just the hunters, everyone. Horses dragged travois loaded with tipis, clothes, food, and buffalo robes. All that moving around was one reason Lakota didn't own much. It's also a reason they loved their land so much. They traveled all over their beautiful land, and it was all home.

What was Slow's life like when he was a baby?

Baby Slow stayed in his cradle for most of the first six months or more of his life. It was kind of a deerskin baby-backpack that could be attached to a flat wooden board.

Except at night, when he slept between his parents, Slow didn't spend much time on his back. There were no cribs for Lakota babies. While his mother worked, she could lean the cradleboard on a tree or hang it from a tipi pole. Slow could look straight out -- not up -- so he could be with his people right from the start, learning to be Lakota. He learned it very well.

What kind of diapers did Slow wear?

Slow wore a kind of disposable diaper. His cradle was stuffed with dry moss or animal hair. A little hole at the bottom of the cradle let pee drip out. Slow's mother would wash and oil him and change his moss diaper. He could kick and wiggle then.

After Slow outgrew his cradle, he would wander around with no diaper. In fact, in the summer he wouldn't wear anything at all.

What could Slow see from his cradle?

He watched his mother and the other women scrape buffalo hides with a bone scraper and tan the leather and sew it into robes, clothes, and even new tipis when needed. He watched them cook stew in a bag made from a buffalo's stomach. They put in meat and water and roots and then cooked it by putting hot rocks in. Slow's mother might have had a metal pot if his father had gotten one from a white trader. Slow watched his big sister help the women and play with her doll and toy tipi. He saw the women dig up wild potatoes and onions and he would smell the fresh dirt as they dug. He could see and smell the fire, too. It would be in the middle of the tipi in the winter (the smoke went out a hole in the top) and outside in the summer.

He could smell the family's best horses tethered close to the tipi at night so enemies couldn't steal them. He'd see his father and uncles and cousins fixing arrows and painting buffalo hides. And dogs running everywhere, and people talking everywhere, and singing sometimes and dancing, before and after a battle or a buffalo hunt. In some camps he could see Lakota hunting lands in all directions, all the way to the horizon.

And he could sleep, if he liked, and pee, and do all the things babies do -- except cry.

Why didn't Lakota babies cry?

Mothers took their children to a safe place during an enemy attack, and a crying baby might tell the enemy where the family was hiding. Mari Sandoz, a little white girl who grew up with Lakota neighbors, once saw a Lakota friend's new baby brother. When the baby started to cry, its mother pinched its nose closed and covered its mouth for a moment and sang very quietly to it. She would do that again anytime the baby cried. Mari thought this was a great idea. (But she didn't try this with her brothers and sisters, and NEITHER SHOULD YOU. A baby can't breathe with its nose and mouth shut.)

Don't Know Much About Sitting Bull. Copyright © by Kenneth Davis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2006

    Dont know much about Martin Luther King, Jr

    Don¿t know much about¿Martin Luther King Jr. What an awesome book! The information provided about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is impressive. It doesn¿t just begin with Martin Luther King, Jr. as an adult but covers information about his parents and siblings that is often not discussed when reading literature about Dr. King. The question of ¿What would have happened if King was alive today?¿ will have you thinking about what you are doing today to take a stand on issues in the media and communities today. The format of the book, which is questions in bold print and then text, allows for clear understanding for the age group it is designed for. You will also see text on pages that provide definitions, quotes of various people, as well as short writings explaining various situations. This book also provides an index that could be used as a reference to quickly answer questions about Dr. King. There is a list of milestones in chronological order that shows the impact this great man made in the short time that he lived. The illustrations are striking. The black and white illustrations are clear. They take you back in time as if you are standing in the middle of the century in which the events take place. Reviewed By: Alfreda Owens, Black Butterfly Review

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