There are a lot of books about the topic of Martin Luther King, Jr for students. From Doreen Rappaport’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s Big Words to the Rookie Reader biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. No doubt come January, I never have enough titles to hand to teachers for the week prior to the Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday.
I have a new book to add to the collection, My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart by Angela Farris Watkins, PHD. It is illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the author’s uncle as indicated by the title. She wanted to write about this extraordinary person in a different light; from the point of view of a child remembering her uncle.
As I read the story, I could hear a young person retelling what she liked about her Uncle ML as he was called by his nieces and nephews. Readers learn that hanging out with family and extended family was very important. We are shown how big his heart was by reading how Uncle ML would step aside, bend down and open his arms to a little girl with pigtails flying for a hug and a kiss after his Sunday sermons.
From reading about the night Uncle ML visited his sister’s house and he fell asleep on the couch with shoes on to how much he laughed with family, we come to know a personal side of Martin Luther King, Jr. that we don’t often get to read about.
To me, knowing the person behind the person is fascinating. This book as well as My Brother Martin by Christine King Farris (the author’s mother) make for great reads along with all the great accomplishments during his brief life.
I really like the illustrations by Velasquez. It is like stepping back in time, especially the illustration of the kitchen, it could have been my kitchen. In the Artist’s Note, he explains how he researched the information for accuracy along with using photos as a guide.
Watson’s goal of having readers of all ages understand the human, warm-hearted side of a larger than life public figure is accomplished in this book.
Title: My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart
Author: Angela Farris Watkins, PHD
Illustrator: Eric Velasquez
Date Published: 2010
Reading Level: All Ages
Source of Book: Copy from the publisher.
BTW, I for some reason received two copies in the mail. If you leave your name in the comments , you will have a chance to win the book. If you will tweet this review or mention the link on your blog, you have a second chance at winning. Leave links in the comments until July 30. I will draw a winner’s name next week.
Shelf-Employed is rounding up the non-fiction books today.