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Martin's Big Words

4.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,751 Ratings  ·  822 Reviews
In this elegant pictorial biography of Martin Luther King Jr., author Doreen Rappaport combines her spare, lyrical text with King's own words for an effective, age-appropriate portrayal of one of the world's greatest civil rights leaders. From King's youth, when he looked up to his preacher father and vowed one day to "get big words, too," to his death at a garbage workers ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published 2002 by Scholastic (first published October 1st 2001)
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Matthew Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in Memphis, TN in 1968. King's death came at a time when racial tension between African Americans and White…moreMartin Luther King Jr. was shot in Memphis, TN in 1968. King's death came at a time when racial tension between African Americans and White Southerners were at an all-time high. MLK Jr. was in Memphis to help the sanitation workers with their strike. This would have cost people a lot of money, so killing him was their way of protecting their pocketbooks as well as try to keep equality at bay. Luckily, the racists and bigots lost. MLK Jr. may have been assassinated, but his message lives on. (less)
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When I was a child, I always wanted to learn more about the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while at the same time, I wanted to see a picture book for children that details Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s life in an uplifting way. Well, I just found such a picture book detailing Martin Luther King Junior’s life and it is called “Martin’s Big Words.” “Martin’s Big Words” is written by Doreen Rappaport along with illustrations by Bryan Collier and has won many awards including the Cal ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 04, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: for learning about nonviolent activism, MLK, Jr., civil rights history, etc.
Oh, I had trepidation about reading this book because of some comments made over at the Children's Books group. (This book is one of six books selected for February’s Picture Books Club; the month’s theme is Black History Month.) It just goes to show that we’re all going to have different reactions to the same book.

I need not have worried. I thought this was a nearly perfect book for its aim; I think.

Outstanding illustrations done in collage, a form I admire and enjoy.

The book covers Martin Luth
I found this introductory biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to be both beautiful, inspiring... and a little frustrating.

On the one hand, I loved how the author incorporated MLK's "big words" into the story--most pages including actual quotes; but at the same time sometimes it felt a bit disjointed narrative-wise. Also, the narrative is so sparse that it lacks depth and I felt some key aspects of MLK's life were not explored sufficiently, even for a picture book. And I appreciate the fact
Jan 27, 2013 Dora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., recipient of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, Caldecott Honor, and Coretta Scott King Honor, provides a balance between a retell of history and excerpts from his impacting speeches. The illustrations contain artistic medias of realistic paintings and collage, that gives the reader more insight on how powerful Martin's words were in piecing together the society that once existed. A must have to read aloud for elementary and secondary ...more
Crystal Marcos
I always appreciate added information in books. So, I found it wonderful to have important dates highlighted and additional MLK information added at the end of the book. After I read the book, I went back and read the author’s and Illustrator’s notes. It was interesting to find out their thoughts on how they approached creating this book. I did like the artwork although a tad on the dark side. I think Martin’s life would have been better depicted in light rather than dark, because he brought so ...more
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an excellent picture book for students of all ages, even though the book is intended for grades 1-3. I gave this book four stars (reallly liked it) mainly because of the unique format of the book. As opposed to just "telling" the story of Dr. King's life, Rappaport starts the story with Martin encountering the hurtful words WHITE ONLY and his mother's subsequent explanation that he is was "as good as anyone." The story of his life con ...more
L-Crystal Wlodek
This picture book, recommended for readers 8-10 years of age and has received the Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor (2002), New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (2001). This is a book that tells the story of MLK’s life and times. This narrative tells of MLK’s life and the Civil Rights Movement by weaving together the authors words and actual words spoken by MLK.

This book describes the Civil Rights Movement, inequality, and the life of MLK in a captivating and emotional way.
Feb 04, 2010 Ch_amyM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Martin's Big Words was written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier. Published in 2001 by Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Childre, it was a Cadecott Honor Book (2002), a Coretta Scott King Award Honor book (2002), and The New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book for 2001. The illustrations in this book are amazing starting with the stain glass windows on the opening pages that reminds one of the Reverand Dr. Martin Luther King's roots. The text is also used ...more
Sep 03, 2013 Malbadeen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been in education for 15 years, this is my first year as a principal. for the past 6 years I didn't have my own classroom or group of kids that I worked directly with.
I am soooooo excited to be with kids again! In the first week or so of school, I'll be going to each class and reading a book, and leaving it with the class. I got this one for the 5th graders, because it's beautiful and honors the intellectual capacity of this group of kids while tapping into their inate sense of justice.
I love this book! In the dozens of picture books about Martin Luther King Jr., this one stands out. I love the underlying message of the power of words, and the simplicity of the text underscores Martin’s message. The pictures, mixing collage and watercolor, add deeper layers to the story. The full page picture of the young African American girl in front of the American flag is at once inspiring and haunting. Both the author and the illustrator add a message at the beginning of the book explaini ...more
Lisa Fanelli
Nov 23, 2015 Lisa Fanelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wow-books
"Martin's Big Words" will leave you with chills. This is an outstanding book about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The books starts when Martin is a small boy during a time of segregation. It then goes through his life, telling how he became a minister to the time of his famous speech.

I discovered this book when we were discussing WOW books in ECI 540. One of my peers shared a brief summary about the book and it caught my attention. I later went to my school's library to check it out to rea
(NS) Panagiota Angelos
DVD- Non-print
Martin’s Big Words DVD features the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The video begins with moving gospel music in the background, which plays throughout video. The narrator has a deep captivating voice and takes the viewer through the life of Martin Luther King. The story begins when Martin is a young boy and his view of the world. He questions and is very observant on how people are treated. The video continues focusing on his life events that lead up until his death. He was sh
Laura Rumohr
Oct 04, 2009 Laura Rumohr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Martin's Big Words was written for children in the primary grades. This story is about the life of Martin Luther King Junior. MLK's quotes are woven throughout the words of the entire text. It begins when Martin is a young boy and continues through his death. When he was a child he recognized racism in the community and wanted to make a difference. When he grew up he became a minister and learned that hate could be overcome with love. Over the years he worked with city leaders to improve the rig ...more
L13_Allison Safran
"Martin's Big Words" is a great book that I have heard a lot about from other members in our Children's Literature class! The book is about the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I watched this video on SchoolTube and I think it definitely added an element of interest for young readers. The video does a nice job of zooming in on details that corresponded with the text at the time. In the movie, the text moves and there is even background knowledge that is appropriate and support
Jan 19, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Of the three books that we read this year about Martin Luther King, Jr. in honor of his birthday, this one was by far my favorite. I have to echo the comments made by one reviewer that all the books seem to be written with the same script; but this one is just different enough to pique my interest. The illustrations are wonderful and I love the way his words echo throughout the book. I felt his conviction and his hope pour out from the pages. I really liked this story and our girls did too.

My f
I listened to this book as I read along was very moving. This Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor (2002), New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (2001) would be a great picture book to use during February as we celebrate African Heritage Month by using the words of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech carefully chosen illustrations captivating the reader of the inequalities of the life of most African Americans during the acidic Rights Movement and how the words of one ma ...more
This is an outstanding book that inspires children of all backgrounds. It's an award winning book that has won the Coretta Scott King, Jane Adams, and Caldecott Awards. The illustrator did a phenomenal job of bring the story to life in a unique way with collages, and the book is has a story line that's easy to follow. It speaks to young children and talks about Dr King as a child and his journey and dream as a child. It's inspiring, invigorating and motivating for all. There's rich vocabulary an ...more
Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. imparts a powerful that was conveyed by the teachings of Dr. King. He fought hate with love, said together when others said separate, and believed that peace was the answer to war. Throughout his life, he lived to impart his message to others while he "Walked with them and talked with them and sang with them and prayed with them".

Even though I am not fond of the illustrative technique of the pictures that accompany this t
Kiah Ballard
Jul 11, 2015 Kiah Ballard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good example of a children's history book. The wording was simply and I think it would be pretty easy for young children to understand. I would use this book to teach children about Martin Luther King Jr and how he made history.
I read this book on BookFlix. The website enables the story to come to life. The author tells the life story of Martin Luther King. "Everywhere in Martin's hometown, he saw the signs, WHITE ONLY. His mother told him: "You are as good as anyone." Martin used his words to create equality for all Americans. He talked to people for over ten years about justice before he gave his famous speech, "I have a Dream." His words will never be forgotten. I would read this book or show this book to students i ...more
(NS) Becca
Oct 06, 2009 (NS) Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
To begin, the pictures in this book are breathtaking. The illustrator uses collage and mixed media to convey the wonderfully inspiring story of a young Martin Luther King, Jr. The words make a statement aside from the pictures, pointedly addressing the issue that MLK, JR. lives on through his powerful words, "I have a dream..." The story walks the reader through the life of MLK, Jr. and the people who pushed him to live for his dreams despite all the anger in the world. Any child who reads this ...more
Karen C.
Apr 21, 2016 Karen C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." written by Doreen Rappaport is a magnificent book that really shines a light to who MLK was and what he meant to many people. The book talks about Martin's speeches, marches, and support and love for everyone. The book is an informational text but it doesn't seem to be. Although all the information is reliable, the style of the book is written as if it were fiction. The illustrations are beautifully done and the vibrant colors easily e ...more
Julia Maisel
Apr 21, 2016 Julia Maisel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an exceptional children's picture book that tells Dr. King's life story and his contributions to society. It begins with his childhood. As a boy, he noticed racism in society, such as "White Only" signs. Later, he became a minister and used words from the Bible to teach about love, peace, and equality. This book mentions critical historical events, such as Rosa Parks standing up for her rights on the city bus. Dr. King supported peaceful protesters who stood up for what they believed in. ...more
Kelly Kline
1. What is the book about?
The book is about Marin Luther King Jr. growing up in a prejudice country. Martin worked so hard to over come racial boundaries he faced. Martin's mother encouraged him the most to continue to work hard. Martin led peaceful protest and read books on Ghandi to fuel his fight to end racism. Many people followed Martin's teaching. However, one day Martin was shot in Memphis, Tennessee. Many people look up to Martin today and he helped pave the way for integration.
2. What
Maelin Long
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport is a wonderful book that tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr in a different way for children. By highlighting his big ideas and some big events of the Civil Rights Movement, children can easily understand how Martin Luther King was a part of that. Starting the story when he was young and then moving to his role in the movement made a wonderfully complete story of Martin Luther King Jr’s life.

With phenomenal pictures, the story is not only told through
Cade Bethea
Mar 29, 2016 Cade Bethea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brings his life and the overpowering nature of his message to young children through his own personal words. Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most significant and remarkable speakers of all time. Throughout the book Martin is seen in several different stages of his life. The order in which the story is told shows the reader the hardship and hate that was prevalent in out society at that time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes
Elizabeth Jane
Feb 18, 2016 Elizabeth Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was outstanding to read in many ways. The story of Martin Luther King Jr. is always amazing even after hearing it time and time again. This book did a wonderful job of telling the story in a matter of fact way but in a way that is directed towards children between the ages of 5-9. The book is perfect for this age group of children because it is informative of the story (including the upsetting facts) without leaving the reader feeling too uneasy or sad. This age group is the group who ...more
Sara Mcintee
Jan 15, 2016 Sara Mcintee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the honor of reading this book to a classroom of kindergarten students as a guest teacher. I did not have time to preview it. I started out by asking if anyone knew who this man was by just showing them the cover. None of them did. Is he a president? Is he a rich man? They had no clue. This was to be their first introduction to Martin Luther King Jr. The books illustrations are unique and beautiful. The kids noticed the stained glass and related that to church. Starting with him as an inqu ...more
Abbie Witt
1. Identifying the appropriate genre: Biography

2. Review/Summary: When Martin was growing up he saw the signs WHITE ONLY everywhere in his hometown. Every time he read the words, he felt bad. Until he remembered what his mother told him: "You are as good as anyone." When Martin grew up, he became a minister like his father. And he used the big words he had heard as a child from his parents and from the Bible: "Everyone can be great." And he was. To tell the story of this great American hero's li
Tyler Shank
Plot Summary/Personal Response: Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in a town where Whites Only signs seemed to be everywhere. This made him very sad, and he wanted to change it. He grew up in a good home, and became a preacher and fought non-violently for equal rights for African Americans. He studied Gandhi and walked and talked with protesters and gave numerous speeches including his most famous I Have a Dream Speech. With all the protests and non-violent events to fight for their rights, the WHIT ...more
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Doreen Rappaport has written many books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, specializing in thoroughly researched multicultural history, historical fiction, retellings of folktales and myths, and stories of those she calls the "not-yet-celebrated." Among her recent books is MARTIN'S BIG WORDS: THE LIFE OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received a Caldecot ...more
More about Doreen Rappaport...

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