Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Martin's Big Words - Doreen Rappaport
*I hope that worked!! If not, the link to that amazong page is,
Martin's Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport
Summary: This is the story of Martin Luther King, Jr. growing up in the South, seeing things he did not like (for instance, a 'Whites Only' sign), and deciding to change it. Very biographical, and shows students what a difference one person can make. Except for the ending, I think this is a great book to have in your classroom.
Social Justice Education
Touched upon many of the levels of Social Justice Education we have been speaking about. I would venture to say it hits all 5: Martin's mother telling him he was just as good as anyone else, Martin telling people to use their voices and not their fists is respectful of others, and the entire Civil Rights movement explores social justice and change. Clearly, through things like the Montgomerey Bus Boycott, and the ending of Segregation in 1964 at his hands, students can see how one person can make a difference.
Curriculum/Units the book touches on
The ideas of Slavery, Segregation, Integration, Civil Rights, Social Action, Social Justice, Inequality, Racism, Racial Relations, the Power of the Individual, Violence, Non-violent Protest, and the Power of Words come to mind instantly. Showing students how much they can accomplish with a dream and hard work - that it ISN'T up to someone else. They could be that someone who makes a great change in our world that is in such desperate need of change, which would be great for self-esteem and empowerment. It is also important for them to reflect on the fact that he, like Ghandi, refused to give in to the temptations of violence, finding other creative ways to solve the problems he saw around him. His story shows the power of believing in yourself, and being a good leader. It will also inspire students to think of things in their communities that they don't like and want to see change; and then can try to think of how they can help start that change today.
Other Notes on the Book
Personally, I think the pictures are gorgeous, and I like the illustrator (Bryan Collier)'s use of fabric-looking pieces to make up backgrounds and articles of clothing They are detailed and gorgeous to look at. It's not typical illustrations, and I think students will appreciate how interesting the pictures look, and may want to learn how they can emulate this in their own publishings (of course, it's no photocopies-and-cray-paz work, but it will do).
As I mentioned earlier, my biggest complaint is the abrupt, somber ending. It is the truth, that he was shot and that he later died from it, but the rest of the book was worded so beautifully, I felt a little more tact could have gone into the last thing the students will remember of the book. I guess that could have been the author's intent, a shock-value, but if I was reading this to a younger class, I would think of my own way to say it.
Jumping back to the positives, the book is entitled "Martin's Big Words", and on each page, we get a small snippet from all of Doctor King's famous speeches, which really shows the power of his words, and give a glimpse to how wonderful this man and his ideas really were.
Also, at the back of the book, it gives a substantial listing of other books and websites that can be visited to learn more about the life of Doctor King. Here are some of them (sorry, I don't know how to do this link thing yet!)
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr. - David A. Adler
If You Lived in the Time of Martin Luther King - Ellen Levine
My Dream of Martin Luther King - Faith Ringgold
My Story - Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins
He Had a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement - Flip Schulke
http://www.kiddyhouse.com/Holidays/MLK/MLK.html *this one says it has thematic lessons on it*
Posted by bree at 4:56 PM