Traci's Reviews > Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin LutherKing Jr.

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
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Oct 25, 11

Read in October, 2011 — I own a copy

"Martin's Big Words" by Doreen Rappaport is an amazing visual telling of Martin Luther King Jr's life. It starts when he was a boy and noticed the differences among and whites and blacks and how he grew up to want to change these differences. Within the text are quotes from MLK, and of course the most moving are from his "I Have a Dream" speech. While the words tell about King, the images tell a hidden story.

The words are powerful in this book, as MLK is a very moving person to learn about in history. Even as a child he saw differences and knew that they needed to be changed. The images in this book are quite awe inspiring. I found myself looking at every detail of the image, and my favorite is MLK giving his "I Have a Dream" speech. Another aspect from this book that I like is how the author incorporated quotes from MLK on each text page that relates to what the author said. At the end of the book there are important dates from MLK and the Civil Rights movement that are listed as well as a page full of books and websites that can be visited after reading this book.

The cover of this book has MLK, and the background texture almost appears to be crumpled paper. The background is dark brown, and the texture continues here too. There is no text on the cover page, just the image of MLK. The end pages for this book are quite stunning, as they're stained glass from a church window. The illustrator, Bryan Collier, explains that when he thinks about MLK this image comes to mind, as they represent many things, such as the multicolors representing different races. The thought of all these different meanings for the end pages is quite amazing, and a great discussion to have with students. The title page is a lighter brown with the paper texture. The text is quite large for Martin's Big Words and is in maroon text. The words are underlined on the top and bottom. The dedication page also has an Author's Note and Illustrator's Note here explaining the impact that MLK had on their lives.

Once you begin reading the story the images are beautiful, and I have often wondered how this book didn't win the Caldecott Medal. The text varies throughout this book, especially in color with the quotes taken from MLK. The main text doesn't change font or color, and stays black. The backgrounds that the text is on also change in color, and for me the background on these appear to have a stained glass window effect. This book has to be one of my favorite historical books because of the images. The colors in the images tell the story of the hardships that African Americans faced during their fight for equality. In many images there is the American flag in the background to represent freedom. One of the most moving images for me is the last one. The background is black, and there are three large stained glass windows. Martin's image is on the largest window, and four lit candles are at the forefront of this image. Every image is a full-bleed, but there are no double page spreads. The full-bleed images add to the complexity and impact that this book has on the reader.
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