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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Celebrate the Civil Rights Movement Blog Tour {Review and Guest Post}

I am so excited and honored to be participating in the Celebrate the Civil Rights Movement Blog Tour! As many of you may know, August 28, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's famous and inspiring "I Have A Dream" speech, and Random House Kids launched this blog tour as way to celebrate both King's speech and the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement was and is such an important and powerful part of our American history, and Dr. King's moving speech was a defining moment for the movement and deserves to be celebrated and learned from. This month long blog tour will introduce readers to the gorgeous picture book, I Have A Dream, which is illustrated with paintings by Kadir Nelson and is the perfect book to introduce young readers to Dr. King and the civil rights movement. I also have a guest post from author Diane Krednesor to share with all of you...

I Have A Dream
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
paintings by Kadir Nelson

From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King: “My father’s dream continues to live on from generation to generation, and this beautiful and powerful illustrated edition of his world-changing "I Have a Dream" speech brings his inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to the youngest among us—those who will one day carry his dream forward for everyone.”

On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation's history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson's magificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation's past.

from the book notes guide...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech of August 28,
1963, delivered during the March on Washington
for Jobs and Freedom, is one of the most
significant addresses in all of American history.

The speech was a catalyzing moment in the civil rights
movement and paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of
1964. Dr. King’s urgent and inspirational call for freedom
and equality for all people reverberates to this day.
To commemorate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of
Dr. King’s landmark speech, I Have a Dream presents
an excerpt of its most powerful passage, illustrated
with moving paintings by Coretta Scott King Award–
and Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator Kadir Nelson.
In the only picture book version of Dr. King’s speech
in print, today’s children and generations of children
to come will be inspired by his words of justice and hope.  

Kadir Nelson, illustrator of I Have A Dream, talks about the story behind the book:

(I received a review copy from the pub in exchange for an honest review)

I Have A Dream is an exquisite and powerful picture book! Caldecott winner, Kadir Nelson, illustrates an excerpt from Dr. King's infamous speech with the most beautiful and striking paintings. I loved this book, both for its message and its paintings, and I've read through it at least a dozen times since I received it, soaking up Dr. King's moving words and admiring Nelson's art. 

The excerpt highlighted in this picture book is a well known one and begins with "I say to you today, my friends, that even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream" and ends with the mighty "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!". This perfectly chosen excerpt from Dr. King's speech is one that even young readers will understand and be captivated by. And Kadir Nelson's wonderful paintings will awe and inspire as well. Kadir not only depicts that day in Washington 50 years ago, but also beautifully brings Dr. King's words to life with bright, smooth colors. 

Dr. King's full speech is included in the back of the book and, best of all, the book comes with a CD recording of the original speech being given 50 years ago. There is something so amazing about listening to this speech and hearing Dr. King's actual voice while flipping through Nelson's lovely paintings, and like me, young readers will be absolutely riveted.

With the perfectly chosen excerpt, Kadir Nelson's gorgeous paintings, and the included CD, I Have A Dream is a must have picture book when introducing young readers to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and the civil rights movement.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was a clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination through nonviolent means. 

KADIR NELSON is the acclaimed illustrator of Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom and Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, both Caldecott Honor books. His other titles include We Are the Ship, a Robert F. Sibert Medal winner and Coretta Scott King Award recipient, and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African-Americans.

It’s always NOW.
by Diane Kredensor

Here’s what I know—human beings are essentially all the same. We all want to be heard and we all want to be loved. That’s it. We come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations. And that’s a good thing. Otherwise, we’d live in a boring, one-note world. In spite of those different colors and beliefs, we all want the same thing—to be known. To be understood. To be loved. It’s that simple. It’s what connects us. It’s what makes us one.

So why does it seem as though it’s much more complicated? Why do we, human beings, need to make those who are different from us wrong or less than us?  Why do we feel the need to suppress those who are different? I don’t have the answer. I can only speculate. Fear and insecurity come to mind. If someone is different from us he or she is an unknown.  And let’s face it, new stuff is scary to us humans. And insecurity?  Many of us don’t want to admit it, or maybe can’t even see it, but some people feel the need to be “above” someone else in order to feel important. Better than someone. We don’t begin life needing to feel better than others. But somewhere along the way, as we get older, we compare ourselves to others and sometimes feel inadequate. It’s what we do with that feeling that’s important. You can choose to point at others and make them wrong or you can choose to look inside and deal with your true feelings and fear of what seems different.

What we fail to understand as a society is that when we keep any group of people down, our society is stunted. To grow, we ALL have to have the support and the opportunity to be successful. Not just a few of us. It just doesn’t work that way. Martin Luther King was the voice for equality for his generation. He knew that it would be “fatal for the nation” not to move toward equality. His voice was powerful.  From him, grew many voices. Now it’s up to all of us to continue his work. To give a voice to those who are marginalized.

Martin Luther King had a dream “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it’s creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

We can’t grow as a society, when part of us is cut off. Young people today understand that. They’re smarter than us adults. We don’t start off seeing differences; we just see people. Children don’t see a different color, or religion, or sexual orientation. That is a powerful way to guarantee success and happiness in all human beings—a society that isn’t afraid of each other but celebrates and empowers each unique individual. Because we know, and our children know, that what makes us all successful is what connects us—everyone feeling heard. Everyone loved for exactly who they are.

50 years ago, the time was NOW for Martin Luther King and for Americans of his generation to make a change. It’s always NOW. Every day is an opportunity to make a change in how you live. I know what I choose. I stand with Martin Luther King and choose equality. What about you?

DIANE KREDENSOR is an Emmy Award-winning artist for her work on animated TV shows such as Pinky and the Brain, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and WordWorld, to name a few. Her most recent children's book, OLLIE & MOON: ALOHA! is the third in the series for Random House Children's Books and introduces a brand new format, Step into Reading Comic Reader. Graphic panels and word balloons full of punchy dialogue introduce emergent readers to the joy of comics. The easy-to-follow plot is about trying new things and what it means to be a best friend. Diane happily lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her partner, their son, and two cats that bear a passing resemblance to Ollie and Moon. See more at and

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