Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kid Konnection: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a few picture books that are especially pertinent this weekend.

Summary: The most effective method used to influence children to read is to incorporate the information that interests them the most. National Geographic Readers are educational, high-interest, and comprehensive for children. In this title, readers will learn about the fascinating life and legacy civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

In this level two biography, difficult concepts are made understandable and transitioned into a more approachable manner. This includes the use of sidebars, timetables, diagrams and fun facts to hold the interest of the young reader. The colorful design and educational illustrations round out this text as an exemplary book for their young minds to explore. -- National Geographic Kids

I recently received some National Geographic Readers books in the mail, and they are a huge hit with Booking Son. One of the books that captured his interest is NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. by Kitson Jazynka. The reader book is aimed at Level 3 readers which are "fluent readers," and I thought it was an outstanding book to introduce children to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his goals for our country.

Of course, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. gives children a brief history of MLK's life, from his childhood to his untimely death. However, the book also outlines the civil rights movement, demonstrating what MLK was able to peacefully accomplish for equality. Booking Son doesn't really have any comprehension of segregation or the social injustices that occurred in our country, and I think this book does a great job of explaining it to today's children.

There are many wonderful things about NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., but one of my favorites is how the information is presented. This book is chock full of gorgeous photographs -- both black and white and color ones; and there are plenty of interesting tidbits that are sure to catch (and keep) kids' attention. The book includes "Words to Know" on each page (as well as a Glossary in the back of the book) and a timeline that reflects the major events in MLK's life.

Both Booking Son and I absolutely love these National Geographic Readers biographies! Highly recommended for young readers and teachers.

Summary: In moving verse, Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis gives new voice to seventeen heroes of civil rights. Exquisitely illustrated by five extraordinary artists, this commanding collection of poems invites the reader to hear in each verse the thunder that lies in every voice, no matter how small. Featuring civil rights luminaries Coretta Scott King, Harvey Milk, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Sylvia Mendez, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mamie Carthan Till, Helen Zia, Josh Gibson, Dennis James Banks, Mitsuye Endo, Ellison Onizuka, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Yunus, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. -- Chronicle Books

While this book WHEN THUNDER COMES: POEMS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Jim Burke, R. Gregory Christie, Tonya Engel, John Parra, and Meilo So doesn't specifically address Martin Luther King, Jr., I still think it's wonderful book to commemorate the Civil Rights Movement and his ideals. WHEN THUNDER COMES is a tribute by Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis to seventeen heroes of civil rights. The book has a poem for each person who made a difference as well as a gorgeous illustration by a variety of artists. Needless to say, this book is gorgeous!

I am the first to admit that I'm not a huge lover of poetry. I want to enjoy reading poems, but I find that I'm just not intellectual enough (or something like that) to truly appreciate them. However, poetry geared towards kids is something I can get into. I think it's more my speed! And that's why I found WHEN THUNDER COMES to be such a special book. I loved reading these beautiful poems about these amazing individuals.

As a mom, I love that WHEN THUNDER COMES introduces so many civil rights heroes to our children... and  maybe even some adults. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I learned a great deal from this book. I wasn't familiar with some of these hero's stories, and thankfully, there are pages in the back of the book which provide brief bios for each of them.

What I really appreciated about this book was the wide variety of causes that it celebrated. The book celebrates those individuals who fought injustices for race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and more. Some of the heroes commemorated in WHEN THUNDER COMES include Coretta Scott King, Harvey Milk, Jackie Robinson, Mohandas Gandhi, Sylvia Mendez, and Nelson Mandela.

WHEN THUNDER COMES is a wonderful book that should be an addition to every school library!

Thanks to the publisher and Media Masters Publicity for providing a review copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

When Thunder Comes looks beautiful.

bermudaonion said...

What fabulous books! I'm sure Vance would have been drawn to the National Geographic title too.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

My kids like National Geographic books too. They are so attractive. Poems are a hit in my family as well and I think using poetry in When Thunder Comes to teach kids about people who have made a difference is a great idea.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I haven't seen When Thunder Comes. Looks great!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Beautiful books! I never got into reading poetry either, but I enjoyed writing it in high school... can not explain that.