Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

March On! The day my brother Martin changed the world

March On! The day my brother Martin changed the world

Christine King Farris
Illustrator:  London Ladd 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 9 to 12
Scholastic, 2008   ISBN: 0545035376

There can’t be many Americans who have not heard of Martin Luther King famous “I have a dream” speech. What they may not know was that the speech was given during a huge march, which took place on August 28th, 1963. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a peaceful march, and though people came to the bother, heckle, and threaten the marchers, there was no violence at all that special day. Powerful songs and speeches were sung and spoken, and there was a coming together of all kinds of people who had one thing in common – they believed in freedom for all.

Martin Luther King Jr. worked long and hard on his speech the day before the march. He worked long into the night and then, in the morning, he dressed with care for the big day ahead. When he saw how many people had come to walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Monument, Martin was greatly moved. He and his colleagues in the civil rights movement joined the people and walked with them.

After many speeches and songs it was Martin’s turn to speak. He did not refer to his speech notes. Instead he spoke from the heart, finding “a rhythm that was all his own.” The words that he spoke on that warm summer’s day would resonate with people around the world for years to come.

In this very special and enormously powerful picture book Martin Luther King Jr.’s elder sister Christine tells the story of that extraordinary day. She tells her story in a very personal and sensitive way, her words showing us how proud she was of her brother and his work. She captures the incredible feeling that lay upon the crowd of marchers as the listened and as they cheered, and she makes her readers wish very much that they too could have been there, in Washington, on that momentous day.