Tuesday, January 31, 2017

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: THE STORY OF ROSA PARKS by Patricia A. Pingry & THE STORY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. by Johnny Ray Moore [Review & Giveaway]

Introductory thoughts: The concept of biographic books for the very young is somewhat new in the genre of picture books. True, more detailed picture books have done this in past years, but to introduce individuals of fame to the "board book" crowd (think, preschoolers ages 1 to 5), stretches the imagination of authors, illustrators, and publishers. Nevertheless, we're looking at two well-known people who influenced greatly the lives of black people in America.

The Story of Rosa Parks

My thoughts: Though this is a small board book, the text and understanding would preclude it's being appropriate for preschoolers. I can see letting first and third graders read it, though they might be a bit put off with a board book.

This little biography shows Rosa Parks disobeying the law about riding the bus. It is hard for people today to understand these laws. Her actions make me think a bit of the defiance of the Patriots of the Boston Tea Party when they defied the British and tossed the tea into the sea.

The illustrations are drawings and are a bit on the "dark" side until the page where the ruling allowing people to ride the bus as they wish, and then it seems flooded with light.

About the book: This little book of only about 200 words introduces Rosa Parks, called the “mother of the civil rights movement.” Here is the story of her courageous decision to remain on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, an action that resulted in arrest and, ultimately, a victory for civil rights. The rich oil paintings by artist Steven Walker contribute to the tension of the moment and the understanding of Rosa Parks. A perfect way for the family to honor Black History Month.

The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.

My thoughts: This small board book takes the reader through the life of Martin Luther King Jr. as a boy and into his adult life. Martin's parents are depicted as gentle folk who comply with the laws that restrict where they can go and eat. Martin feels anger and his parents help him deal with it. As he grows into adult life, he trains for the ministry and begins to influence large crowds of people.

Martin is shown as a happy child except for the areas in which he faced discrimination. Martin appears to be a child of a prosperous, well educated black family with his mother a teacher and his father a preacher. But it also shows that Martin experienced discrimination.

I think the book is beautifully done in lively detail and softened colors with well written text that doesn't overcome the young listener. I think age appropriateness would be in the first through third grade range and not necessarily for preschoolers.

About the book: This little book tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. in a way that even very young children will understand. This simple but accurate account of his life begins with King’s childhood, making it easy for little ones to relate to his story. Children will learn that he excelled in school, became a minister, and worked to end segregation in America. This book, with only about 200 words accompanied by delicate watercolors, is a great way for parents to begin to teach their children about this inspirational historical figure.
2-Books for 1 Winner
Begins February 1
ENDS February 9
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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.


  1. We read biographies of important people in history. Then we discuss what they did and why it was important.

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  2. 1. Old-fashioned books collecting stories of great people's lives used to more common I think! Those are a great resource!
    2. Biographies for kids are great! Stories of achievement are pertinent for everyone!

  3. I love to teach and read concerning biographies of people who have made a difference. Biographies are great for everyone.

  4. I homeschool my daughter, so I'm teaching her everyday from the curriculum I've chose. Plus, I often check out library books for her and my son to learn about important people in history.

  5. I think biographies for the very young can be a great thing, especially if they are written in story form-without dry, boring facts listed.

  6. I think if they are done very well, with excellent illustrations, as your review indicates about these, biographies for young children are wonderful. They can introduce them to people who have done important things with their lives, people who have truly lived their faith.

  7. I love the IDEA of biographies for young children, but I have yet to find one that was interesting enough to keep my preschooler's attention! I would love to see of these do.

  8. I teach my children through books and discussions about important people in our past and present. I recently checked out a book called "Heroes for My Daughter" for my oldest. TERRIFIC stories about people doing admirable things. I want my kids to know that just because someone is famous doesn't mean they should be admired or emulated.

  9. Books are the best way to teach a child about individuals who have greatly influenced our world. Being a youth services librarian, I find it difficult to find bios that are simple enough for preschoolers. These books are great!

  10. Biographies for children are great. I love that they teach kids about one person in one source instead of having to go to different sources. As I previously mentioned, it's difficult to find bios for preschoolers and these books look perfect!

  11. I like the general idea of biographies for kids, but some of the darker themes might be more appropriate for older children who can distinguish between 'what used to be' and 'what is right'.

  12. The best way to teach them is through reading together.

  13. i think it is great, learning about other peoples lives is awesome!

  14. We homeschool so we do projects and read.

  15. I like them. I remember loving to read biographies when I was young.

  16. We look at pictures of them and talk about their accomplishments in a way that us relatable and accessible for young kids.


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