Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier

See how spangled that cover is with medals? This book is a big deal. It deserves all those medals and more. The illustrations are bigger than life (isn't that an incredible portrait of MLK on the cover?!), the words are spare enough really nail you with their simple truth, and the message is one that never grows old. 

All men are created equal. And to make things happen, you have to DO something. 

I also love the concept of Martin's words changing things. Words are big and important. Use good ones!

Martin grew up in a world that was not fair. And his mother never let him think it was right or fair. 

His father was a minister. So he was around beautiful, important words all his life. 

By the time he himself was a minister, he knew as many big words as he needed to change history. To make the world more fair. 

And he changed the world. He was bold and honest. He became the face of his people. 

I saw an article a few years ago about how school teachers and other water down MLK. He had a message of peace and love, but there was also a realist in him that knew there would be a lot of egg carts upset by what he was trying to accomplish. And he didn't shy away from that. He didn't worry about making people uncomfortable. He wanted people to be uncomfortable with the status quo. 

He wasn't going to wait for some distant, future promise. He was going to make today the promise.

And he knew he might be stopped. He knew he was facing some of the fiercest hatred because of the uncomfortable truths he preached. 

 if I am stopped,
 this movement 
will not be stopped, 
because God is 
with this movement. 

This movement was not just Martin Luther King Jr. He never meant it to be. He just stepped up to be the leader for a movement much bigger than himself. 

This is my favorite picture in the entire book. I am not artistic, so I can't really tell you why I love this picture so much, but I just love it. The unflinching stare, the tattered flag, put back together--this is what the civil rights movement did. It demanded that the America that was broken for them be made whole again. 

Words are a big deal. Words can change the commonplace into history changing vehicles. 

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