cover image I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King Jr., illus. by Kadir Nelson. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-85887-1

There’s something exhilarating about viewing Nelson’s (Heart and Soul) paintings of Dr. King and the March on Washington while reading the words of the speech King gave that day; it’s hard to imagine a better representation of their historical significance. Nelson pictures King in front of a forest of microphones, his brow furrowed with concentration. “I have a dream today,” he repeats as Nelson shows him in sharp profile—it almost seems possible to feel the warmth of his breath. “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together,” he continues, accompanied by a painting of two clasped hands, black and white. Though it’s a clichéd image, Nelson’s up-close rendering of the hands gives the picture startling freshness. American landscapes glow, and schoolchildren of every color look viewers in the eye, full of confidence. The speech is lightly edited in a way that makes it understandable for children of any age; a CD of the speech is enclosed. A glorious interpretation of a bedrock moment in 20th-century history. All ages. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)