Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Doreen Rappaport

Other authorsBryan Collier (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2007






Hyperion Book CH (2007), Edition: 32004th, 40 pages


Using quotes from some of his beloved speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. comes to life in stunning collage art and vibrant watercolor paintings in this profound and important biography about beliefs and dreams and following ones heart. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his own words, will inspire and affect you, too.

User reviews

LibraryThing member aconant05
This book tells about the passion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and how he changed the world with simple words and beautiful illustrations that are perfect for children's understanding.
LibraryThing member anita.west
Martin’s Big Words is a simplified biography about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This is a beautiful, very touching book and that encompasses the trails Dr. King tried so hard to fight with words instead of violence. This book depicts, very well, what life would have been like for African American people living in his time.

This book pierces my soul. I feel as though that author and illustrator, together through the use of their words and art work, allow the reader to look directly through Martins eyes straight into his heart and soul. This book helps the reader to understand Dr. King’s courage and his passion for mankind.

This book would be an asset to any classroom. It can be used in many ways. First, it would be a good tool for adding multicultural literature to the classroom library. It could be used along with other books to do a study on the life of Dr. King. I especially like the collage style art work. The students could take “Martin Big Words” and illustrate them in a method of their choosing.
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LibraryThing member LyndaHuntley
This multicultural book is a very powerful and moving book about the history of how Martin Luther King, Jr. made a difference to the United States during the 1960's. It is a summary of the experiences that Martin Luther King Jr. had when he was a child and as he grew up when there were separate restrooms and water fountains. The segregation was demonstrated through excellent Illustrations. The drawings reveal the struggles that African American people had because of segregation. It demonstrates the power of words to change a generation. The book reveals Martin Luther King Jr.'s role in making the difference between races.
I really enjoyed this book. It is such a good summary of history revealed through pictures and words. It also includes the important dates of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life on the final pages well as additional books and websites that can be used with this study.
In the classroom, an extension activity is making a timeline of all the events mentioned in the book. We could also read about Rosa Parks who is mentioned about in the book.
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LibraryThing member kirkonly
Martin’s Big Words is a beautiful, emotional, and powerful book. It is about his life and what happened in it. It shows you how his words changed the world. This astounding book is also accompanied by great illustrations. Very Highly Recommended.

As a student this book can change the way someone looks at Martin Luther King Jr. and the world. I liked how the author puts quotes of MLK’s in the book away from everything. The illustrations are also very well done, they add a lot to the book.

As a teacher not only is this book great to have out on display on MLK day, but to have on display all the time. The words are so powerful. I could use the small quotes of his in the book to start discussions about certain topics. AMAZING teacher/person book.
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LibraryThing member jhill06
Genre: Biography
Critique: This is a good example of biography because it is an account of Martin's life written by someone else. It is about a person who has done something incredibly significant, ending segregation and winning the Nobel Peace prize. It was also written with accuracy in telling of such events as Rosa Parks and when Martin was shot.… (more)
LibraryThing member CathyEarhart
This book was about Martin Luther King's life. He had a huge impact on the world during his short life. The pictures are AMAZING and powerful! Very easy to read.

I really enjoyed this books illistration they were wonderful I haven't seen anything like it. I also like the book because it was moving, MLK's life was amazing and the book wrote it all out into words.

In my classroom, I would have the children write a list of what made MLK's life so memorable.
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LibraryThing member rfewell
Great book for introducing young children to MLK, Jr.
LibraryThing member LindseyStolp
This book is a wonderful example of the message that Mr. King was conveying in his fight for justice among blacks. The book emphasises words that Mr. King used in his infamous speech about freedom.

I loved this book because it was easy for children at younger ages to understand. It also talked about somethings that i did not konw about Mr. King.

A teacher could use this book for black history month and have the children draw a picture of Mr. King giving his speech and all the people present at the speech.
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LibraryThing member rdavis9
This is a picture book biography. It is a sparse narrative that combines Dr. King's word with the author's to tell his story. It is a wonderful book to help children understand the life and work of Dr. King.
LibraryThing member sharese
A book about the life and dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. Collage pictures combined with wonderful words describing King's life and his dream of equality for all people. History plus a positive message are the themes of this wonderful book.

I loved many things about this book including:
1. The author and illustrator both wrote in the begining of the book what their vision was for the book.
2. The colorful and meaningful collages put together by the illustrator are full and lush and require a very long look at all the pages. Many layers of paper are used to create the finished product.
3. A timeline in the back of the book goes from MLK's birth up to his death detailing many of the things in his life that we have come to associate with him.

An amazing book that should be a "Must Read" for all students.
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LibraryThing member CollierStudy
This book is a brief biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is written and illustrated in a unique way that makes more than just another biography of this famous man. The book is written using powerful quotes from Dr. King that are strengthened through Collier’s illustrations. Collier uses a lot of symbolism in this book, which he notes in the front of the book. For instance, the book contains several stained glass windows, which Collier used to represent the light coming through the dark. He also has four candles at the end of the book that are meant to represent the four girls who were killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist church during the Civil Rights movement. Collier has a strength in conveying mood or tone through illustrations, which he makes use of in this book. Collier’s illustrations help the reader to feel the emotion of the Civil Rights movement. This book would be appropriate for both developing and fluent readers. For developing readers, it offers a brief introduction into the concept of civil rights and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as long as there is teacher-assisted discussion. Fluent readers would enjoy this book as well because they would have a greater understanding of Dr. King and the issues of his time. This book won the Caldecott Award and the Coretta Scott King Award for illustrations.… (more)
LibraryThing member morgantk
This is a great read aloud book during the month of January. My students this year were especially interested in learning the details of his life. This book spurred them to find other books about his life to read.
LibraryThing member stharp
This biographical account of Martins life is accurate and it creates a new way to communicate the highlights of a man who lived to be great through his 'big words' and non violent change. The book is an excellent book to use in a classroom or in a home situation because of the empathetic means in which it was written.
LibraryThing member fgcre
The big, inspirational words of Martin Luther King, Jr. are quoted here within the context of Martin's life, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights Movement. With the support of adults, the story can be used even with young children to learn about why we honor Martin Luther King's birthday every January.
LibraryThing member msequeira06
This book informs the reader of Martin Luther King, Jr's life. It begins with him as a child noticing segregation all throughout his town and talking about him sitting in church. His dad encouraged him to become whoever he wanted and not feel belittled by the segregation. The book continues with him as an adult and using the teachings of his father to teach others. He teaches love to all and speaks out against segregation. Though the book mainly focuses on MLK, there are other pieces of the Civil Rights Movement included as well. Genre: Historical fiction- the story is based on history and MLK's true words/beliefs, but they are also elaborated on and fabricated a bit, making the story also fictional. Characterization: MLK is a round character because his thoughts, actions and words are made known through the narrator. He also grows throughout the story, both physically (from child to adult) as well as maturing through his beliefs.… (more)
LibraryThing member marybetha
This is a captivation narrative of the life of Martin Luther King from childhood to adulthood. The text is simple, yet graceful and gets the message across to the young readers. It is a short narrative of his life and is easy to read and understand.
LibraryThing member APoteet
Rappaport offers a personal look at this modern hero, distilling his messages and part in history into an understandable book for young children. Collage illustrations support the weighty emotional tone.
LibraryThing member eward06
This represents an Autobiography because it is a personal life account. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a real person and has great accomplishments. This book is written in chronological order and contains actual facts.
LibraryThing member ValerieStanley
This is a great picture book about Martian Luther King Jr. and his life. It is broken down to a young readers level and that is really good. MLK is such a big part of who and what we are today and I think that it is important for kids to start really young learning about his greatness.
As a teacher I would test the students knowledge about MLK and find out what they know then read the book to them and let them compare their knowledge with what the book says.… (more)
LibraryThing member whitnihatfield
This is the story of Martin Luther King Jr. for children to read. It is very encouraging and it tells the story in a way for young children to understand his life and the difference he made in the world.

I loved this book. It focused on his philosophy of love and non-violence. I love the illustrations and the wonderful way the author explained his life. This is a great book.

This would be a good book to use for African American History month and different projects for the classroom to use. I love the way this book presents his life. It also has a timeline in the back that teachers can use and it will help the students for a project about an important person in history.
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LibraryThing member jerome25
This book is about the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. It talks about how a child Martin would get upset at how his color was treated. It talks about his marches, about how he preached love.

I love to read biographies so this was one that I connected with. To be able to read about a great man of our time and how his life ended too early was remarkable. What he did changed the world and the view of people.

In a classroom setting, you could have the children write about how they could help their friends. What they could do for them, how they could support them.
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LibraryThing member bestwhensimple
This wonderful book by Doreen Rappaport is about one of the most important figures in American history, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Most of the book describes Martin's adult life and the differences he made in cities all over the United States during the Civil Rights Movement.

The title of the story clues its readers in to MLK's strategy for making a difference. His was a non-violent movement based on talks between equals. For this reason, the title, Martin's Big Words, is apt. It's also appropriate because every two-page spread in the book has a quote from MLK on it in large font alongside the more narrative-focused text. The narrative follows MLK until his death. I appreciate how simply Rappaport writes about his assassination. She doesn't focus on the hate that caused his death, but goes to say, with hope, that "his big words are alive for us today." It's a beautiful end to a beautiful book.

A lot of the beauty of this book comes from Bryan Collier's Caldecott Honor-winning illustrations. He used collage and watercolors to bring his images to life. The flames on the candles are pictures of real flames that have been cut out and pasted. The faces of the people in the book are mostly painted, except for one significant example, the image of the girl in front of an American flag. Her face is partly collage, with different colors. Collier shows us that we're all Americans, no matter what color we are. Images like this one make this book a work of art, not to mention a fine example of exceptional children's literature.
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LibraryThing member ccondra
Gives the accomplishments and describes the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Gives an interesting look into the Civil Rights movement.
LibraryThing member leighanngoodwill
The life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has been told many times before. However, this book is the best I have read yet. Doreen Rappaport takes you on a journey through the life of MLK Jr., from being a young boy who dreamed big, to becoming one of the most influential activists for black rights.
LibraryThing member jaia
First, the illustrations in this book were amazing, both heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. They were filled with meaning. This was an excellent book about Martin Luther King Jr (as you can tell from all the awards) that really highlighted the messages that he shared with the world.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

40 p.; 10.13 inches


1423106350 / 9781423106357


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