From the Publisher
"This outstanding book belongs in every collection."
-- School Library Journal
"A very welcome addition to the King story."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"A delightful biography for children."
"This is a rare glimpse of the activist as a young boy."
"...glimpses of the home that nurtured King's dream."
"Vividly recounted anecdotes show children how this great hero was once a kid like them."
"Anyone -- especially kids -- can relate to the warm family scenes depicted in the book."
-- Teaching K-8
The Barnes & Noble Review
Christine King Farris, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister, and artist Chris Soentpiet bring us a unique, moving look at the boyhood of a civil rights leader often portrayed as larger than life.
With the aid of the Soentpiet's strikingly realistic images, which transport us to the earlier part of the 20th century, Farris describes the mischievous and determined younger days of her brother (called M.L. by the family), before he became the man who "had a dream." In intimate, powerful terms, she recounts M.L.'s prankster days with warm, gentle humor. The book's mood quickly shifts to somber disappointment -- and then firm resolve -- when the children suddenly learn they're not to play with their White friends anymore. Nevertheless, despite whatever circumstances the family faced, the book never forgets M.L.'s spirit, which is always shining through, particularly at the height of the story, when he promises his mother to "turn this world upside down."
A touching tribute that helps connect Dr. King with young readers who may view him as a distant (if not unreachable) hero, My Brother Martin fuses poignant memories with impressive artwork to make a must-read for any child interested in learning about him. Simply, the book helps make this towering figure more human, and with a tribute poem -- along with afterwords by both author and illustrator -- to help round it out, parents and teachers will use this excellent resource to teach any child that he or she also has the ability to make a difference. Matt Warner
Farris's stirring memoir of her younger brother "M.L." focuses on a pivotal moment in their childhood in Atlanta. The conversational narrative easily and convincingly draws readers into the daily life of Christine and her two brothers, M.L. and A.D., as they listen to their grandmother's stories, stage pranks and romp in the backyard with two white brothers from across the street. The adults in the King family-Daddy, a minister; Mother Dear, a musician; maternal grandparents (the grandfather is also a minister) and a great-aunt-try to shield the children from the overt racism of the times; the family rarely took streetcars, for example, because of "those laws [segregation], and the indignity that went with them." When the white boys announce one day that they cannot play with M.L. and A.D. because they are "Negroes," the young Kings are hurt and baffled. Mother Dear explains, "[Whites] just don't understand that everyone is the same, but someday, it will be better." M.L. replies, "Mother Dear, one day I'm going to turn this world upside down." Soentpiet (Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor) illustrates this exchange with a powerful watercolor portrait of mother and son that encapsulates many emotions, including hope, pain and love. Unfortunately, in other paintings, the characters often seem frozen in exaggerated poses, or minor figures are rendered with less skill than demonstrated elsewhere. These inconsistencies detract from an otherwise gripping volume that makes the audience aware that heroes were once children, too. All ages. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Most people remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the man who had a dream to change the world of its prejudice views. But what was he like before he became that famous man? Join his sister Christine along with their brother A.D. and find out what life was like growing up in the King household. Would you like to know what Martin's nickname was? Did you know that he liked to play pranks? Find out about one that he played on his piano teacher. Learn how it was to grow up in a community where Martin could go anywhere and play with the neighborhood children. But one day he learned that he was not allowed to go certain places because of his skin color. Feel the hurt of the King family as they had to deal with the people who ignorantly treated them differently. However, there was hope, because as a child, Martin was determined to "turn the world upside down." This book gives personal insight into the childhood of a great man as told by his sister. The illustrations are beautifully and realistically drawn. Teachers will enjoy using this book anytime of the year in their classroom. 2003, Simon and Schuster, White
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-In the straightforward style of a master storyteller, Farris recalls the birth of her two younger brothers and relates anecdotes that demonstrate both the mischievous exploits of the siblings and the love and understanding that permeated the close-knit multigenerational family in which they grew up. Using plain language, she describes conditions in the South during her childhood that separated blacks and whites- "Because they just don't understand that everyone is the same, but someday, it will be better." From their father's church sermons and his actions when confronting the hatred and bigotry, the children learned the importance of standing up for justice and equality. The warmth of the text is exquisitely echoed in Soentpiet's realistic, light-filled watercolor portraits set in the King home, in their Atlanta neighborhood, and at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The simple directness of this short biography will help young children understand the concept of segregation and the importance of Dr. King's message. An appended poem by Mildred D. Johnson reflects Farris's own message: "-it is important for young people to realize the potential that lies within each of them-." This outstanding book belongs in every collection.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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)