Every once a while, a book is published that eclipses just about every other book in print on the topic. Martin’s Big Words is one of those books. There are plenty of biographies of Martin Luther King Jr out there — many filled with facts and detailed information about Dr. King’s life and legacy. Martin’s Big Words goes beyond the typical kid’s biography, though. It is a stunning work of art. It is filled with some of the most profound words spoken by Dr. King, and the magnificent illustrations by Brian Collier provide insight into the character of this legendary civil rights activist that plain text simply can not match. Don’t take my word for it, though. Here’s how Booklist reviewed it back in 2001 in their starred review:
“”Remember if I am stopped, this movement will not be stopped, because God is with this movement.” Weaving in Dr. King’s own “big words,” this inspiring picture-book biography celebrates the great leader as preacher and politician. Rappaport’s spare narrative captures the essentials of the man, the movement he led, and his policy of nonviolence. Only in the case of Rosa Parks is the glimpse too simplistic, presenting her as an individual who refused to give up her seat on the bus, rather than as the political activist she was. Collier’s collage art is glorious. Combining cut-paper, photographs, and watercolor he expresses his own Christian faith and King’s power “to make many different things one.” Stained glass windows are the dominant images, not only in the many church scenes, but also in the play of shape, light, and color in the realistic views of the city. With powerful art and pulsing words (“He walked with them and talked with them and sang with them and prayed with them”), this is a fine book to share and read aloud many times.”
In honor of the American holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr, share Martin’s Big Words widely and often. It’s a remarkable piece of art, and people will thank you for it. The library is open on Monday, so stop by to check out a copy.