cover image My Dream of Martin Luther King

My Dream of Martin Luther King

Faith Ringgold. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-517-59976-1

Does the dream of Martin Luther King live on? Yes, says the narrator of this resonant picture book, which uses the peculiar logic of dreams to take the reader beyond straight biography into a more personal, heartfelt interpretation of King's legacy. In a dream, the narrator sees King as a boy experiencing both the well-known incidents of his childhood and those of his early adult life. Dream logic makes this switch not only acceptable but reasonable, suggesting the childhood roots of the man's concerns. The dream changes again: King, now shown as an adult, presides over the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and, in his great speech in Washington, proclaims his dream. The narrator dreams, too, of his death, but also of mourners ""trading in bags containing our prejudice, hate, ignorance, violence, and fear for the slain hero's dream."" As she awakens, we share with her a powerful message: ""EVERY GOOD THING STARTS WITH A DREAM."" Ringgold (Tar Beach) mutes her usually exuberant palette for the dream scenes, creating stark, flat illustrations painted in browns, grays, whites, blacks and touches of one other color. Innovative and stirring. Ages 4-9. (Dec.)