Just stopping through on this historic day to remind you about the unforgettable March on Washington 47 years ago, and to tell you about a wonderful children’s book that commemorates that event.
March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed The World, is a different kind of picture book. Written by Professor Christine King Farris, doting older sister of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the book reads more like a comfortable, coffee-sipping face-to-face instead of a children’s picture book.
Farris begins by describing the values her mother and father instilled in their three children—Martin, Alfred Daniel and Christine, then touches briefly on how Martin’s early tendency to speak out always drew attention to himself. The story then jumps to an adult Martin and the 1963 march on Washington, D.C., and although I expected to munch on tidbits of what Martin was like as a child, my brief disappointment at the omission of these precious details soon faded as I learned about the exciting days leading up to the freedom march that changed the world.
Farris recreates that historic day by describing how people traveled to Washington by bus, by foot—and even by roller-skates! She quenches the history buff’s thirst for details by describing how a patchwork quilt of people—students and poor people, Christians and Jews, blacks and whites, all held hands and waited for Martin to speak his precious words. She even offers icing for the cake when she tells how legendary African American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson stirred up that freedom-hungry crowd with the soulful words of a mournful song: “I’m gonna tell my Lord…just how long they’ve been treating me wrong.”
March On! is chocked full of beautiful pictures that are keepsakes in their own right. Newcomer-artist London Ladd’s breathtaking oil paintings are a special gift to the reader, capturing the intensity, mood and expression of Dr. King and the people who came to hear him speak on that unforgettable day.
Although this book has a slightly elevated reading level that may make it necessary for the parent, teacher or librarian to do the reading for the younger child, it is definitely a “must have” for every child’s personal or historical library. Don’t miss out on this piece of history!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this book review, and I hope you’ll always remember that historic march on Washington!
Best wishes and happy reading,