As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom

by Richard Michelson

Book, 2008



Call number

E 799 MIC


New York, NY Knopf 2008


MARTIN LUTHER KING, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Their names stand for the quest for justice and equality.Martin grew up in a loving family in the American South, at a time when this country was plagued by racial discrimination. He aimed to put a stop to it. He became a minister like his daddy, and he preached and marched for his cause.Abraham grew up in a loving family many years earlier, in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. He found a new home in America, where he became a respected rabbi like his father, carrying a message of peace and acceptance.Here is the story of two icons for social justice, how they formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member MattRaygun
This book is an excellent tale weaving the life stories of Martin Luther King with that of Abraham Joshua Heschel to give the young reader a sense of time and place. Both men suffered first-hand the effects of racism, with the similarities in the book between the bigotry of the United States and
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the Third Reich front-and-center. This gives the book a little bit of a chilling effect.

The book does a wonderful job showing the humanity in both men, illustrating their humble beginnings as angry and confused children in a world that neither understood. I think this is one of the forgotten aspects of many of the great biographies, which spend so much time emphasizing greatness, they never delve into how easily great things can happen to ordinary people that refuse to accept things as they are.

The most adorable part of the book is where Abraham Heschel's father hid candies in the books his son would study to emphasize what a treat learning is. I might use this someday.

I would recommend this book for ages 6-11.
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LibraryThing member dhut0042
This book is appropriate for children aged 5-9, roughly kindergarten to fourth grade. It tells about the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel in their formative years during times of state-sponsored prejudice, pre-civil rights America and Germany under the Third Reich,
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respectively. Though simplifying the historical events surrounding these two figures, it is certainly a great tool to introduce children to the civil rights movement and the event of the holocaust. Lastly, the greatest qualities of the book are its use of narrative to interest children in history and its use of parallel storytelling in order to communicate a connotation of racial/religious unity.
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LibraryThing member ccoakley
As Good as Anybody is a historical nonfiction picture book that provides insight into both the US Civil Rights Movement as well as the WW2 Holocaust. This biography ties in the childhoods and civil rights careers of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshuha Heschel.

This book ties in themes of
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equality, self-worth and working towards a better world. The book begins with the childhood and life of Martin Luther King Jr, touching on the Civil Rights Movement, and subsequently includes the Jewish persecution in Germany that Abraham experienced. As Good as Anybody concludes with the friendship and similar goals of these two men prior to Martin Luther King's assassination.

As Good as Anybody is a great book that is accessible to many age levels, from kindgergarten through middle school. The pictures are beautiful and add to the overall sentiment of the book.
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LibraryThing member mdaniel54
As a young reader, I always appreciated when historical figures were presented as children. So often, people of note seem static in their attained positions. By portraying them during their younger years, authors allow youths to see themselves in the subject of the book. It is a valuable connection
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to make, especially for those readers that may not be particularly interested initially. Michelson and Colon's "As Good as Anybody" performs admirably in this regard.

The book's main goal is to give a brief overview of the civil rights movement. For younger audiences, this brevity may be ideal. However, it is important to supplement the children's knowledge through other means, less they miss key information.

Overall, "As Good as Anybody" is a well-written and illustrated work that could be used to introduce Martin Luther King Jr. and/or the civil rights movement to children. More in-depth probing should be done as a follow-up if this is your book of choice, though.
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LibraryThing member Jmoreeda
Michelson has written an exceptional informative story about the plights of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. I believe that it was brilliant to introduce the characters as children experiencing the hardships they would later protest because children immediately
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identify with peers, with or without like experiences.

As a middle school Social Studies teacher, I could utilize the book as an introduction to Civil Rights. Additionally,the story line can be used to introduce a compare and contrast between the opinions within the U.S. general public versus the Anti-Nazi sentiment worldwide. Why was discrimination rampant in the United States while the military was attempting to eliminate persecution in Europe?
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LibraryThing member erinchauff
The picture book "As Good As Anybody" would be a good choice for elementary-age students to read to themselves or for a teacher to read aloud. It gives a rarely-seen perspective on the lives of Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Herschel, a Jewish rabbi. The book would be a good starting
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point for teachers planning a Civil Rights lesson.
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LibraryThing member Sandra_Loya
This book brings together the lives of two men who led parallel lives and came together to attempt to change a nation. It is an emotional illustration of what can be done when we come together as a people to look out for one another.

This book is definitely a must read for everyone. In a classroom,
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it can pull together events that happened on different continents and in different times to different ethnic groups. In life, it shows how interconnected mankind should be.

In a classroom, this can be used to personalize the facts of the Civil Rights Movement that middle schoolers have been hearing their whole lives. It will also give a glimpse into the holocaust that they will be learning in the near future. It can also be used to show how we all undergo similar things and should work together to improve life for everyone.
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LibraryThing member YouthGPL
In what seems like an ongoing quest to read every children's book out there about the protests in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, I came across this unusual offering. This book focuses equally on MLK and a Jewish rabbi, Abraham Herschel, who immigrated from Germany to march with King and fight
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against racism. Both men understood discrimination from first hand experience. One of my favorite quotes actually comes from MLK Jr's father - "You're looking down when you should be looking up." This is more of a picture book style - appropriate as a beginning resource for either younger readers or older children who need a place to start their research. There is not a lot of specific information, but general ideas about the march and why the people chose to march. The illustrations resemble photographs, again, appropriate for the famous people contained within. Colon's scratchboard techniques make the pictures look even more glowing and authentic.
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LibraryThing member socrnut07
This illustration book told the story of Martin Luther King Jr and Abraham Joshua Heschel's lives and the impact they had on the civil rights movement. The author covered details of their personal struggles as individuals of different races and religious backgrounds. It had many illustrations to
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help give the reader a mental image of the text throughout the story.

I thought it covered very important historical information about both individuals lives.
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LibraryThing member hsbrouss
This book is a great way to introduce students to history through fictional writing. While this book contains history and facts, it has engaging dialogue, an aging fact of characterization that allows for various ages to connect, and respond. It is a historical parallel between that of Martin
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Luther King Jr, the civil rights activist, as well as Abraham Joshua Herschel. We are taught that there are commonalities between the two men that connects them. I would recommend this book for elementary to middle school students as way to get them interested in Martin Luther King Jr. and to also give them a broad view of the themes that were in the civil rights movement as well as in the Holocaust. Great read and has good pictures to help students stay engaged through the writing.
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LibraryThing member Katina_DeBerry
As Good As Anybody shows the parallel between the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel. At first glance, these individuals may appear to not have a lot in common. This book identifies the similarities between the two men, and it discusses how the two men eventually joined
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forces to fight for equal rights in the United States. The repetitious use of the phrase "you're as good as anybody" ensures that this message will be remembered by readers both young and old.
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LibraryThing member JCHolmes
I thought this book was very easy to follow and informative. It allows people of all ages to follow history in a way that is enjoyable and simple.
LibraryThing member kaamstutz
I would argue that this book is a great tool for getting kids at many learning levels interested in the subject matter and properly introduced to themes presented. What really intrigued me were the illustrations and how they encompased and presented what was written on the adjacent pages. The
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parallel images of the boys being embraced by their parents and the more negative parallel images of the physical aggression each of these men experienced later in life with police aggression and brutality further solidified the special relationship they would eventually have and the unique but similar experiences of oppression they faced. I was also intrigued by how the author incorporated the more whimsical motif of saying how each boy was told by their parents how they were "as good as anybody," which sets these two men on a similar trajectory of fighting for equality. This book blurrs the line of portraying reality while fictionalizing elements of their childhood, but this dramatization does not take away from the book. It draws specific parallels that I beleive children would quickly acknowledge while the facts introduce the children to two very different but similar periods of human opression.
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LibraryThing member BrennonJ
I found this to be an informative and well written children's book. The author depicted the lives of these two people in a manner easily understandable to elementary students. The use of first names and spending a significant portion of the narrative focusing on the childhood lives of King and
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Heschel would allow children to relate and would spark interest in these historically important men.
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LibraryThing member cdaugher
As Good as Anybody was a very entertaining nonfiction book about Martin Luther King's and Abraham Heschel's struggles with discrimination. As the story unfolds, the reader is informed of the injustices that people endure, making it an emotional, moving experience. The author opens the book in a
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narrative point of view in which these historical characters, who deal with racial and religious bias in their lives, are presented in a personal manner, helping readers relate to them. Readers are also able to see into Martin's and Abraham's lives in a way that helps them to understand how difficult it must have been at times for the two characters to deal with people's hatred of them because of their race or religion. Not being able to drink from the same water fountain as whites and having soldiers force you and your family onto a train to take you far away from your home are just a couple of the realities that Martin and Abraham must face.

Repetition, simplistic language, historical facts, fictional dialogue, and beautiful illustrations reveal to the reader how injustice can be inflicted against anyone in this world and that the truth of the matter is that we are all God's children and are as good as anybody else on earth. It is truly a nonfiction book that encompasses many writing features of good fictional literature.

As a future middle school English teacher, I would utilize this book in my class to not only address the often controversial topic of discrimination, but also to study about people who made a significant, positive difference in the world in an effort to thwart such negative attitudes some people may have toward their fellow man. I believe the best way to present As Good as Anybody is simply to read the book to my class while displaying its illustrations on a digital projector, so that the students have the opportunity to connect what is being read to the pictures depicting the text. This was the method demonstrated by my professor in a classroom of adult students and it was very entertaining, as well as moving; proving the notion that no matter how old the listener, many people enjoy being read to and are likely to retain the information presented. I would recommend this book because it reveals in a simplistic, yet interesting way the truth about the hurt caused by discrimination and the ignorance behind its existence.
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LibraryThing member L_Fields
The book was a simplified account of how two men from very different backgrounds joined to stand, and walk together against injustice and inequality in America. It imagined reasonable parallel experiences in a black man's life in segregated America and a polish, Jewish man's life under Nazi rule.
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It made both men's stories relatable to a child; for example, being hot on a summer day, or being happy to get candy. The larger sociocultural concepts were introduced incrementally. This probably was to engage the children about the men so the historical facts of the march, its overall movement, the resistance it encountered, and King's assassination were contextualized, not in history, but in the minds and lives of the children exposed to this book.
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LibraryThing member Areamatha
I thought this was an intresting book but it is simplistic for high school. If however I was teaching elementry I would use this book. It shows the universality of prejudice. That prejudice is something we all experience. As well as, the universal strugle for equal rights. The book is about the
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lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel and the idea that everybody is "As Good as Anybody" else.
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LibraryThing member ppoche
I thought this book would be good for a basic introduction in civil rights for young readers. It not only profiles two of the most important figures in the American Civil Rights movement, but also teaches a very important lesson that all people are created equal, regardless of their race, religion,
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gender, etc.
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LibraryThing member Kdinwiddie
I really enjoyed the book. The story was both engaging and informative. The artwork conveyed the emotions of the characters. The book offered positive messages to youth. Young people need to be encouraged to take pride in themselves. They need to know that they matter as individuals and as a whole.
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The author has a way of showing youth that we are all in this together. Readers can see how people did not sit back, watch injustice, and say, "Oh well, that's life." Furthermore, the characters made good choices not only for themselves as individuals but also for society as a whole. The message is that we should work for change and social justice. I think the author speaks to all people, not just people who fall into categories like Martin or Abraham.

Even though this book is intended for young people, I think it would be enjoyed by people of all ages.
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LibraryThing member lalfonso
As Good as Anybody is the story of two leaders who experience racism on opposite sides of the globe. The story begins by describing the struggle that Martin Luther King, Jr. experienced in his quest to gain equal rights for African Americans in America. It gave us a glimpse into his childhood, and
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how it may have influenced his future as a civil rights leader. On the other side of the world, Abraham Joshua Heschel was experiencing his own form of discrimination. The Jews were being sent to concentration camps after being treated as second-class citizens. In an effort to make life better for his mother, Abraham decided to go to America. He had heard that people were treated fairly there. Once there he realized that African Americans were experiencing discrimination, and he quickly joined Martin to fight this injustice. This book contained a parallel perspective into the lives of both men. It contained repetition. Teaching ideas would included 3-6 grade, especially a social studies class. The illustrations were beautiful. They were done in soft muted water colors which help capture the somber mood of the subject matter. I like the way the author began the book with two quotes, one from Martin and one from Abraham. I’m not sure how credible the author is though. The book did not have any additional information letting the reader know how the author knew about the lives of the characters.
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LibraryThing member abrinkman
As Good as Anybody is a charming creative history picture book that parallels the lives of Martin Luther King Jr and Abraham Joshua Heschel. The book creates the parallel through the use of repetitive statements, the use of a timeline that begins when both men were boys and follows them through to
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their later relationship as social movement activists and the use of a similar tone of melodically enticing writing throughout each story and then in the culmination of their story when they marched together. For example, the repetition of the title quote "As Good as Anybody" during emotionally relevant periods in both young men's lives and then later in the speeches they gave to garner support emotionally and physically for their beliefs.
In a society of commercialism where MLK day has become another excuse for sales at your local mall it is nice to read a book that tries to give an account that shows through beautiful, soft illustrations and emotionally charged words that there is a greater significance we need to be focused on when celebrating such an illustrious figure's life and contribution to the way that we see each other.
While the book is mainly a suppositional rendering of both men's timeline by the author in respect to dialogue and minute details of the events that shaped both men's lives, it does achieve both an emotional response from the reader and a general picture of the events which lead to Martin Luther King and Abraham Heschel's meeting and subsequent relationship. A relationship that brought together different ethnic groups in America (in this case a Southern Black man and a Jewish Rabbi) to march for a common cause that had been neglected, ignored, or furiously segregated -- the right of every man to be free and equal because we are all just As Good as Anybody.
As far as classroom significance, I think that the initial emotional response that students will have to words like "you are as good as anybody" and "in the next world..." which are repeated in both stories will garner lively discussion because they do "feel" as if they encompass everyone. Also, topics about why stories like Heschel and King's are significant to us now and what we can learn from them. Not hard questions or even original, but lively ones that can translate from a kindergarten class to a middle school or even high school (with some extra reading involved) because there are still issues of segregation, prejudice, and bullying that students have to deal with today.
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LibraryThing member Desirichter
What a wonderfully written, heartwarming biography of Abraham Heshel and Martin Luther King. The book begins with each civil liberty leader's childhood, and thus allows children to connect with the leaders in their youth. I will use this book in my social studies unit planning
LibraryThing member Whisper1
This is the amazing story of two men, advocating for non violence even though they and families received terrible cruelty and violence.
On March 21, 1965, Abraham Joshua Heschel, a prominent Rabbi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, long a proponent of rights for blacks, joined hands to cross the
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bridge in Selma, Alabama. This action was for the voting rights of blacks.

Heschel came to America, fleeing the hatred of Jews at the hands of the brutal Nazi's. Sadly, while he escaped, his family was murdered in the Holocaust.

MLK, Jr. was a very strong leader and advocate for the rights of blacks...and all.

Both men were told by their father's when they were little, "You are as good as anybody." With that in mind, arms were linked and the long journey continued.
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LibraryThing member 777100987
Good book to share with my son about previous social movements for human rights.


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