Rappaport, Doreen. (2001). Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. B. Collier. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
Literary Genre: Biography (Picture Book)
“When I grow up, I’m going to get big words, too.” Martin did grow up to just this. He was a minister, just like his father and used big words to preach. Martin said “together” when others were saying “separate”. Martin walked, talked, and sang with others as they protested for equal rights. When black Americans were beaten and murdered for marching, Martin reminded people that “love is the key to the problems of the world.” In April of 1968, Martin was shot and died in Memphis, Tennessee, but “his big words are alive for us today.” Rappaport’s creativeness with text size, placement, and color emphasizes Martin’s big words while Collier’s stained glass artwork emphasizes Martin’s non-violent beliefs.
I enjoyed this biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. because it was organized uniquely and provides readers with a new perspective on a well-known leader. Both the Author and the Illustrator have written a “note” on the dedications page that reveals how they are both connected to and inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I particularly like how Rappaport mentions that she read several other biographies on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in preparation for this book (and she learned that a child, Martin was determined to use “big words”) because it validates her authenticity but teaches the readers something new about this great leader.