2 New Books in Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday

This Sunday, January 15,marks the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In celebration, here are two fantastic new books—one covering the renowned figure’s life and legacy; the other, the fraught period in which King lived and died.

Marching to the Mountaintop by Ann Bausum. Bausum, an award-winning children’s book author (Unraveling Freedom) who has published eight previous titles with the National Geographic Society—delivers an informational goldmine with this in-depth look into the events that shaped Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s downfall, most specifically the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968 and the conditions that preceded it. Using simple but evocative storytelling language, she describes the economic hardship African-American workers faced during that time, and the courageous steps ordinary citizens (with Dr. King as their leader) took to rectify their seemingly hopeless situation. Her coverage of Dr. King’s last days, his legendary “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech (which still brings tears to my eyes every time I read  or hear it), and the aftermath of his murder, is riveting and ripe for a young audience, despite the fact that the subject matter has been written about many times before. With more than 70 archival photos (although some are detractingly tinted blue, yellow, and orange) and illustrations; quotes from gospel hymns and iconic civil rights leaders, including a moving foreword by Reverend James Lawson; a time line stretching from January 30, 1968, to June 24, 1968; a comparative look at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s involvement in crucial civil rights movement campaigns (the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Albany Movement, the Birmingham Campaign, the March on Washington, Selma to Montgomery Marches, the March Against Fear, the Memphis Campaign, and the Poor People’s Campaign); author’s research notes; a resource guide and bibliography; this physically slim but more-than-meaty book is an enticingly thorough snapshot of the time.

To read the rest of the post, please visit  Letter Blocks: The B&N Parents and Educators Blog.

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