Friday, May 20, 2016

I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer - NO

Meltzer, Brad I am Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dial (Penguin), 2016. $12.99 PICTURE BOOK
This is a fantastic biography perfect for young readers! It’s the best one I have seen for relatability and coverage of this life without being overly complex. Too bad the illustrations ruin it.
I know, what!? It looks adorable! You are right, it is. The book starts with a little bobblehead King as a child, he even has a mustache, which young readers will think it fun. What a great way to capture the interest of students! But he never grows up. Even as an adult he is portrayed as a little bobblehead in many scenes, including with his peers towering above him, at one point giving a speech with a stool. It would be different if everyone was bobbleheads, but they aren't, they are normal sized adults with normal sized heads. I think in an effort to be fun and connect with young readers the illustrator took too many liberties, this man is a hero and in this book he is visually reduced in height and stature. I can’t fathom the logic in this and hope it was accidental. I could have been reading in to this a bit too much, so I ran this by a few teachers and it just felt wrong to all of them. This book is going in the recycling bin.
EL(K-3)  -NO  Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author

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