Monday, August 19, 2013

I Have A Dream Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Book Courtesy of Random House.

Recently Random House asked if I would participate in a book tour of Kadir Nelson’s beautifully illustrated new book on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s  I Have A Dream speech.  I quickly responded that I would love to.  I mean how hard could it be to be involved with blogging about a wonderful book?  I had seen the book, I knew the speech, and spent many years teaching about Dr. King’s dream.  Well, it has turned out to be quite challenging. 

Fifty years later Race is still a tough topic to broach.  As a white male teacher I try to make my classroom as culturally responsive as possible, but I know that it isn’t always the way I want it to be.  There are times when different cultures and races do clash.  For example black youths are still targeted for walking down the street, and college students spew racist hatred on reality TV shows.

So, as I am writing this and looking at Mr. Nelson’s paintings and listen to Dr. King’s words I know there has been great changes in the past 50 years.  We have an African-American president, but at the same only 10% of children’s picture books have main characters of color.

As I share this book with my students I hope that we can continue the conversation and wonder if they will make the changes that will make Dr. King’s words ring true?

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