Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing up with Martin Luther King Jr.

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing up with Martin Luther King Jr.

Christine King Farris
Illustrator:  Chris Soentpiet 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2005   ISBN: 978-0689843884

I would like to introduce you to Christine. She was Martin Luther King’s older sister and of course she knew him long before he became famous and long before "he first dreamed the dream that would change the world." In fact she began to know her brother when he was born a year and a half after she herself was.

Christine, "M.L" and their brother "A.D." were very close and spent their days playing together and listening to the stories that their grandmother and aunt told them. They also loved to play pranks on unsuspecting folks, both strangers and members of their family. In short they were normal fun-loving children but they were living in hard times; for theirs was a world in which black people did not have all the rights and freedoms given to white people.

Because of the unfair laws Christine and her brothers could not go to the park, or the movies. They could not play with white children, ride the elevators, or eat in some restaurants. Despite the grimness of the situation, Christine’s family never gave up hope that things would get better and that one day the unfair system that they lived in would change for the better. M.L decided that one day he would "turn this world upside down" in his efforts to fight for equal rights for his people.

Of course today we all know that this is just what he did. In this special picture book we discover through Christine King Farris’ moving words what Martin Luther King Jr. was like as a child and how his family life helped him make choices later in life, choices which did indeed "turn this world upside down." An afterword at the back of the book written by the author gives the reader a feel for how proud Christine is of her brother and what he did. In writing this book Christine hopes to help children see that Martin was once a child too and to understand what made him choose to become his people’s leader. She hopes too that reading about him will inspire readers to consider their own potential.

At the back of the book, in addition to Christine’s afterword, readers will find an interesting illustrator’s note and a poem written by Mildred D. Johnson.

Chris Soentpiet’s illustrations beautifully compliment Christine King Farris’ text.