Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

10 Days: Martin Luther King Jr.

10 Days: Martin Luther King Jr.

David Colbert
For ages 8 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2008   ISBN: 978-1416968054

Martin Luther King Jr. had a relatively short life, and yet in the thirty-nine years that he was on this earth, he achieved a great deal. Indeed, the fruits of his labors, in the end, changed the way people thought and the way things were done forever.

Out of the 14,325 days that he lived, ten days in particular would shape his personality and would affect his actions. The first of these was the day when a bus driver told fifteen-year-old Martin to give up his seat on a public bus. Though he knew that the bus driver had the law on his side (a Jim Crow law), Martin did not want to comply. In the end, he did give up his seat because his teacher begged him not to cause trouble.

The second momentous day in his life was on December 5, 1955.  This was the day when the African Americans living in Montgomery, Alabama, began their famous bus boycott. On this day, Martin was given the job of leading and organizing the boycott, and his words and bravery encouraged thousands of African Americans to eschew using the public buses for 381 days.

On May 28, 1960, (the third important day) Martin faced a jury of twelve white men. He was accused of tax evasion, though everyone knew the charge was just an excuse to try to remove Martin from the political scene. Martin, his lawyers, and his supporters were all afraid that Martin would end up in jail. They “were sure that the verdict was already planned by the jury and judge.” It turned out that they were wrong, and Martin was acquitted. The words “Not guilty” showed him that there were white people who were willing to do the right thing, and that the white dominated establishment did not always win.

Reading this book will give readers who have an interest in the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. a whole new picture of the man. The author tells the Martin Luther King Jr. story in a new way, offering up new perspectives, and giving readers a very real portrait of a man who felt that he was not doing enough for the civil rights cause.

This title is one in a series of books, each one of which explores ten days in the lives of people who changed the world.