My Daddy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King III, illus. by AG Ford. HarperCollins/Amistad, $17.99 (32p)
“There have been a lot of books written about my father. But not a whole lot has been written about my dad,” explains King, the second of four children of the civil rights leader. Personal anecdotes appear throughout this picture book biography, demonstrating how King’s activism at times took a toll on his family. A trip to an amusement park is repeatedly deferred (“Finally my mother explained. We were not allowed in Funtown”), a young Martin is nervous about letting other kids know who his father is, and he’s viscerally upset when his father is repeatedly arrested, consoling his older sister after being comforted by their mother. Readers get a sense of King’s reputation and goals amid the family stories; in an especially powerful anecdote, King describes burning toy guns in a backyard bonfire. “Nonviolence wasn’t just for marches and protests,” he writes. “It was for home as well.” Though occasionally somewhat posed, Ford’s oil-and-acrylic paintings depict both the likenesses of the King family and the close-knit bond that saw them through many dark moments. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013